New Zealand mosque shooter sentenced to life without parole

This is the first time a sentence of this severity has been handed down in NZ history

new-zealand-gunman-christchurch-attack-ap Brenton Tarrant during an earlier hearing | AP

A New Zealand white supremacist, who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques last year, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday. It is the first time such a sentence of this severity has been handed down in the history of the country.

Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.

Judge Cameron Mander, while describing the 29-year-old Australian as “wicked” and “inhuman”, said that it was Tarrant’s “warped” ideology and “base hatred” which led him to attack defenceless men, women and children last year in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting.

“It is incumbent on the court to respond in a way that decisively rejects such vicious malevolence,” Mander said as he announced the sentence. “It was brutal and beyond callous. Your actions were inhuman.”

He further said that Tarrant had failed in his aim of promoting right-wing extremism as he shot Muslim worshippers.

Tarrant who waived his right to speak at the hearing accepted his sentence.

“The offending was motivated by an entrenched racist and xenophobic ideology... in my submission, the offender is clearly New Zealand’s worst murderer,” Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said.

Fearing the former gym instructor will use his hearings to spout extremist ideology, the court prevented media organisations from reporting the proceedings.

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