Christchurch mosque shooter sentenced to life imprisonment without parole
The white supremacist who slaughtered 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, AP reports.
The judge imposed the maximum available sentence on 29-year-old Australian gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the first time the sentence has been imposed in New Zealand.
Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant’s crimes were so wicked that a life time in jail could not begin to atone for them. He said they had caused enormous loss and hurt and stemmed from a warped and malignant ideology.
“Your actions were inhuman,” Mander said. “You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant as he clung to the leg of his father.”
The March 2019 attacks targeting people praying at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques shocked New Zealand and prompted new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons. They also prompted global changes to social media protocols after the gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook.
During the four-day sentencing hearing, 90 survivors and family members recounted the horror of the attacks and the trauma they continue to feel.
Tarrant in March had pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, reversing his earlier not guilty pleas.
Prosecutors said Tarrant had flown a drone over the Al Noor mosque and researched the layout as he meticulously planned his attacks. He arrived with six guns including two AR-15s.
Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said he’d aimed to kill as many people as possible.