Claims to have met three people in London to create Knights Templar in 2002
A meeting between Anders Breivik and an English anti-Islamic militant calling himself ‘Richard the Lionheart’ was outlined in court yesterday.
Nine years before his killing spree left 77 dead, the Norwegian said he was sitting in a London cafe with members of an extremist group called Knights Templar, to plot ‘how to seize power in Western Europe’.
As well as ‘Richard the Lionheart’, Breivik was also ‘ordained’ by the group and given the name of the 12th-century Norwegian king, Sigurd ‘the Crusader’.
Under cross-examination on the third day of his trial yesterday, the right-wing extremist initially refused to discuss meetings in Liberia and London in April and May 2002 as he joined a network of ‘like-minded’ militant anti-Muslim nationalists.
But after repeated questioning by prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh, who told him she was trying to shed doubt on the network’s existence, he conceded he had travelled to Africa and London ten years ago to help set up his Knights Templar (KT) movement.
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For the first time Breivik, 33, appeared rattled as it emerged he left Oslo on April 17, 2002, to fly to the Ivory Coast before entering Liberia, posing as an aid worker. Breivik said that once there he met an exiled Serbian ‘war hero’, but refused to identify the man.
Breivik became agitated and claimed Norwegian police had not been clever enough to uncover the KT movement’s members. He said: ‘Exactly what is it you’re getting at? Are you trying to sow doubt over whether the KT network exists? It does.’
The court heard that Breivik flew to London in late April 2002 where he attended a founding session of the KT movement but he refused to give exact details of his co-conspirators.
As images of Breivik’s 1,800-page manifesto were flashed on to screens, the court heard that he met three other founding members of the Knights Templar during his London visit. At 23, he was the youngest member of the group.
There were two Englishmen – including his ‘mentor’, Richard the Lionheart – and a French nationalist at the founding meeting. Breivik told the court: ‘It is not in my interest here to discuss what went on.
What I will say is that Richard was responsible for calling the meeting.’
In his manifesto, Breivik said: ‘It was basically a long-term plan on how to seize power in Western Europe.’
He told the court that the people he had met in London had ‘great integrity’ and how his codename of ‘Crusader’ was taken from Sigurd Magnusson, a 12th-century Viking king.
Asked if he felt he had met some ‘like-minded friends’ in London, he said: ‘I felt I was a foot soldier associated with the others. Now I feel I have managed to do what I wanted to do.’
Breivik also said he should face the death penalty – describing the 21 years he faces in prison as ‘pathetic’.
When asked if he thought Norway should introduce the death penalty, he replied: ‘It would be the right thing.’