The Independent reports: They met for the first time on 19 February: Terje Torrisen, the Norwegian psychiatrist given the task of assessing the sanity of a mass murderer, and Anders Behring Breivik, the man who today goes on trial for one of the most shocking crimes in European post-war history.
Breivik was well-mannered and co-operative, according to Mr Torrisen: “My first impression was that he was a polite man. He was answering all of our questions and did whatever he could to make the process as smooth as possible.”
Throughout the 24-hour-a-day observation Mr Torrisen and the rest of his team were able to watch and analyse how the self-confessed mass murderer eats, sleeps and interacts with others. When Breivik sleeps alone in his cell – or spends time weight-training, or reading world history – the team has always been around him, scrutinising his behaviour for more than 200 hours, building up the most complete profile of Norway’s worst-ever serial killer.
“He’s not like a normal person,” Mr Torrisen told The Independent, seemingly stating the obvious by adding that Breivik has an extreme personality. “During conversations, he is friendly,” Mr Torrisen explained. He said Breivik spends a lot of time, as he has done during his handful of public appearances, talking about his own thoughts and political opinions. He “smiles every time he discovers himself in newspapers or on television,” Mr Torrisen said.
Breivik has told the psychiatrists and doctors that he is “incredibly proud” of what he has done, and that “the operation was a major ego boost, in a way I am probably a little attention-whore”.
Last week, Mr Torrisen and Agnar Aspas, the other analyst to assess Breivik’s mental state, delivered a report about his mental health to the court in Oslo. The report was commissioned after an earlier assessment declared him insane. According to newspapers in Norway, the new report – still confidential – concludes that Breivik has a narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder – a diagnosis that has certain similarities with other psychopaths. It concludes, however, that he is mentally fit enough to face trial.