Norway police don't suspect gunman's British 'mentor'

26th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Norwegian police said Friday they have finished questioning Paul Ray, the British man thought to be the "mentor" cited by Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik, and that Ray is only a witness in the case.

Ray, a far-right activist and former member of the English Defence League, spoke to Norwegian police voluntarily to deny claims that he had contact with the man who has confessed to killing 77 people in the July 22 twin attacks.

"He had the status of witness before and during his interview and he still has that status today," police prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told AFP, referring to Ray.

Ray, who lives in Malta, is widely considered to be the unnamed "mentor" mentioned by Behring Breivik in the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online shortly before carrying out the attacks.

Ray "was cooperative enough", during 15 hours of questioning over three days and "denied any link with the suspect", Hjort Kraby said.

Norwegian police are however still investigating whether Ray and Behring Breivik had any electronic contact and Ray could be asked to return to Oslo for further questioning, the officer added.

Describing himself as a crusader at war against multiculturalism and Islam, Behring Breivik, 32, explained in the manifesto that he once had "a relatively close relationship" with an Englishman he gave the pseudonym "Richard", "who became my mentor".

Ray, who heads the "Knights Templar" movement and runs a "Richard the Lionhearted" blog, has said he recognised himself in the Norwegian rightwing extremist's description but has called the July 22 attacks "pure evil".

Behring Breivik has confessed to setting off a bomb outside government offices in Oslo killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya, where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp, killing 69 others, many of them teenagers.

He is currently being held in solitary confinement at a high-security prison near Oslo, and has claimed he acted alone.

© 2011 AFP

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