Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleads GUILTY to murdering 51 Muslims
Evil gunman Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleads GUILTY to murdering 51 Muslims during Christchurch mosque massacre
- Brenton Tarrant has admitted to murdering 51 Muslims in Christchurch attack
- The Australian white supremacist had originally pleaded not guilty to charges
- He was expected to stand trial on June 2 but changed his plea on Thursday
- His shock guilty plea comes as New Zealand goes into lockdown for COVID-19
The Australian gunman who murdered 51 Muslims during the Christchurch mosque massacre has pleaded guilty to all charges.
Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning where he admitted to carrying out the attack on March 15, last year.
He pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.
The white supremacist had originally pleaded not guilty and was preparing to stand trial on June 2.
The shock hearing was scheduled late on Wednesday night, before the country was placed in a four-week lockdown to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday (pictured) morning where he admitted to carrying out the attack on March 15, last year
The Australian white supremacist is originally from Grafton in northern NSW but had moved to Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island
The terror charge against him was the first prosecution of its kind in New Zealand.
Tarrant will remain in a maximum-security jail in Auckland ahead of his sentencing and now faces life in prison.
Tarrant stormed two mosques in Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island last year, killing 51 Muslim worshipers and injuring dozens more.
He live-streamed the horror attack on Facebook.
Tarrant first entered the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers were beginning and opened fire.
Worshipers scrambled as the shots rang out. Some managed to smash windows to escape, while others had to lay with the bloodied bodies and pretend to be dead.
Tarrant then drove to the Linwood Mosque on the other side of the city and continued shooting.
Tarrant, who is originally from Grafton in NSW, first entered the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers were beginning and opened fire (pictured during his first court appearance on March 16, 2019)
Members of the the public grieve at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch, New Zealand after the attack in March 2019
Two police officers managed to finally stop the shooter by ramming their car into his gold Subaru Outback.
They dragged Tarrant out of the car, and he was arrested.
Inside the car were improvised explosive devices, which were later disarmed.
A 73-page manifesto was published detailing how his actions were racially motivated and how he was inspired by Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 in 2011.
Both the live-stream and the manifesto are illegal to obtain or read in New Zealand.
Tarrant, who describes himself as a far-right fascist, came to his radical views from conversations in dark corners on the internet, consolidated on trips to Europe.
He grew up in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton, moving to New Zealand in 2017 and settling in the South Island town of Dunedin.
The horrific terror attack in Christchurch, which left 51 worshipers dead, has been described as New Zealand’s darkest day (Pictured: victims)
TVNZ, one of just a handful of media outlets allowed into Thursday’s hearing due to New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown, reported every name of Tarrant’s victims was read to him before he entered his guilty plea.
Justice Mander imposed a one-hour embargo on reporting the news to allow for survivors and the families of victims to be informed, before the wider public.
“It is regrettable that the Covid-19 restrictions that presently apply do not permit victims and their families to travel to be present in the courtroom when the defendant entered his pleas of guilty,” he said.
Imams from the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, the two mosques targeted in the shooting, were both in the court.
TIMELINE OF TERROR: HOW THE CHRISTCHURCH MASSACRE THAT CLAIMED 51 LIVES UNFOLDED
A 28-year-old Australian man entered a mosque in central Christchurch on Friday afternoon and opened fire on people gathered inside the building – killing 51 people and leaving dozens more injured.
This is how the incident unfolded in local New Zealand Time on March 15, 2019.
1.40pm: First reports of a shooting at a mosque in central Christchurch.
A man entered the mosque with an automatic weapon and opened fire on people inside.
2.11pm: Police confirmed they were attending an ‘evolving situation’ in Christchruch.
Gunshots are heard in the area outside Masid Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots, with one saying she attempted to give CPR to an injured person but they died.
2.17pm: Multiple schools went into lockdown in Christchurch.
People who were in the mosque began to leave covered in blood and with gunshot wounds.
2.47pm: First reports of six people dead, three in a critical condition and three with serious injuries.
2.54pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the situation is ‘serious and evolving’ and told people to remain indoors and stay off the streets.
The Canterbury District Health Board activated its mass casualty plan.
3.12pm: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cancelled her afternoon arrangements.
3.21pm: Christchurch City Council locked down many of their central city buildings.
3.33pm: First reports of a bomb in a beige Subaru that crashed on Strickland Street, three kilometres from the shootings.
3.40pm: Police confirmed there were multiple simultaneous attacks on mosques in Christchurch.
3.45pm: Reports of multiple shots fired at the shootings, which are ongoing.
3.59pm: 300 people were reported to be inside the moque.
4.00pm: One person is confirmed to be in custody but there are warnings there may be others out there.
Police commissioner Mike Bush urges Muslims across New Zealand to stay away from their local mosque.
4.10pm: Jacinda Ardern calls Friday ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.27pm: First reports of a second shooting.
A witness said a Muslim local chased the shooters at the mosque in Linwood, firing in ‘self defence’.
5.31pm: Four people are confirmed to be in custody. including one woman.
Multiple fatalities were reported.
7.07pm: It was confirmed an AR15 rifle was used in the attack.
7.20pm: Dunedin Street was cordoned off.
Reports the attackers planned to also target the Al Huda Mosque.
7.26pm: At least 40 people were confirmed dead, Jacinda Ardern confirmed.
7.34pm: Confirmed that 48 people were being treated in hospital.
7.46pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland was evacuated after bags were found unattended.
The bags were deemed not suspicious.
8.35pm: New Zealand’s Government confirmed this is the first time ever the terror level has been lifted from low to high.
9.03pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirms that the death toll has risen to 49.
Brenton Tarrant was later charged with murder, and the death toll rose to 51.
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