The decline and fall of a boastful killer
As a marathon trial neared its end, the world of Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik shrank from a globally televised, clench-fisted victory salute to tales of plastic surgery on his nose, failed business deals and obsessive computer gaming.
Relentless questioning by prosecutors stripped down the anti-Islam militant from an almost larger-than-life monster who slaughtered 77 people to a rather mediocre, 33-year-old man who excelled in little other than being evil.
The 10-week trial that ended with a verdict today that Breivik was not insane and must serve a maximum jail term was once mocked as over-the-top Nordic liberalism and a courtroom circus for his extreme far-right views.
But the patient civility of Norwegian justice appears to have triumphed.
"I don't think people realised how small and pathetic he was, with that thin voice of his," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, one of the three lawyers in court representing victims.
It did not seem that way on the first day of his trial, when a smirking Breivik first walked into the packed courtroom with his far-right salute on live television. Breivik had even received over 100 letters of support from around Europe.
In a fresh suit, stylish tie and ironed shirt, he shook hands with prosecutors and lawyers. Norwegians appeared to treat him like they would a suspect in a household burglary.
Breivik then read page after page of his testimony, justifying his bombing of government offices and a gun rampage against the ruling Labour party's youth movement on the grounds that Europe was threatened by a multicultural "hell".
The judge politely tried to shut him up. "Just one more page," Breivik replied. The judge seemed powerless to stop him.
But there were signs even then that he would soon fall from his perch and his edifice would crumble.
"His hand was like a child's, limp," said Larsen, one of those who had shaken hands with him. "Not like a man's." From that first day of trial, his decline and fall began.
The mild mannered prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh talked down to him like she would a child, gently probing how he returned to live with his mother after business deals failed, and his habit of wearing a face mask to avoid getting dirty.
She quietly insinuated, with an almost mischievous smile, that he had a nose job. Asked about his tendency to spend days playing computer games, he lost his composure.
"I know where you're going, you're ridiculing me," he said. "I will not be a part of that. I will turn my microphone off." He often dug his own grave. He called himself a "caring person, talked about killing people who had "leftist looks" on their faces, and said women were inferior and belonged at home.