A white supremacist who murdered 51 worshippers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch has been detained for life without the possibility of parole, the first time the sentence has been used in the country.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant had pleaded guilty during court proceedings in Christchurch to the killings, attempted murder and terrorism over the attacks in the city which left 51 deceased.
Mr Tarrant had the chances to speak on the final day of a four-day hearing, which had seen 90 survivors and family members spoke about the pain of the March 2019 attacks at two mosques in the city.
The assailants had earlier fired his legal team but was appointed a standby lawyer at the high court in Christchurch.
Mr Tarrant resoluted to Justice Mander that he did not wish to speak during the sentencing hearing.
Judge Cameron Mander said Mr Tarrant’s crimes were so mischievous 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 deviant and malignant ideology.
The judge said, “Your actions were inhuman.” He added, “You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant as he clung to the leg of his father.”
The Australian showed little or no affection during the sentencing. He has watched the speakers, occasionally giving a small nod or smirking at jokes made at his charges.
The judge noted that Mr Tarrant had currently told assessors that he now rejects his extremist philosophy and considers his attacks “irrational and abhorrent.”
Mr Tarrant had shown no empathy towards his victims or sorrow for what he had done but he said the sincerity of that change of heart was questionable.
Mr Tarrant in March pleaded guilty to one count of terrorism, 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder reversing his earlier not guilty pleas.
Prosecutors said Mr Tarrant had a drone flown over the Al Noor mosque and studied 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 murder as many people as possible. He added, “The offender’s actions are a painful and harrowing mark in New Zealand’s history.”