However, he confessed to de-sensitising himself in readiness for his massacre.

“I am a very likeable person under normal conditions,” said the right wing extremist on the fifth day of his trial.

“I was rather normal (emotionally) until 2006 when I started my training,” he insisted, adding that he was a “caring person”.

“You have to choose tactics and strategies to dehumanise … the enemy … those who I see as legitimate targets,” he said.

“If I hadn’t done that … I wouldn’t have managed to do it.”

Breivik was speaking of his shooting spree of July 22, when he bombed a government building in the Norwegian capital Oslo, killing eight people, before killing 69 of 569 people who were at a Labour youth camp on the nearby island  Utoya.

Breivik acknowledged that the bombing and shooting spree were “gruesome, barbaric actions”, and that he had had to “work on (his) psyche for many years” to do something like that, stressing: “You can’t send an unprepared person into war.”

He was capable of showing emotion, he said, admitting to once crying at the funeral of a friend. But he considered himself a militant nationalist “knight”, protecting his fellow Norwegians – people he loved very much – from a “Muslim invasion” by the Labour government’s lax immigration policies.

He also felt Norwegian media failed to provide fair coverage of the populist immigration-sceptical Progress Party ahead of the 2009 parliamentary elections.

Breivik said in a previous testimony he had intended to kill the entire Norwegian government, including Norwegian prime minister

Jens Stoltenberg in his bomb attack. In a further harrowing admission, he said he wanted to behead former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was on Utoya island during the rampage. He wanted to film her execution for broadcast.

The murder admits to the killings on the grounds of self-defense in stopping the spread of Islam.

The five presiding judges must decide if he is insane or criminally responsible.