Christchurch Mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant has been given a life sentence without parole, becoming the very first person in New Zealand’s history to be handed this punishment.
White supremacist Tarrant 29, killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch last year. He admitted to the massacre and also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of an additional 40 worshippers, as well as to a charge of terrorism.
This sentencing, handed down on Thursday, August 27, also marks the very first terrorism conviction in New Zealand’s history, with Judge Cameron Mander describing Tarrant’s crimes as ‘inhuman’.
You can find out more about this story in the following news clip:
A life sentence given without parole means the offender won’t be given the opportunity to leave prison after serving a portion of their total sentence. Such sentences, as noted by Judge Mander, are reserved for those responsible for the ‘very worst murders’.
As per , Judge Mander told the court:
Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment.
The sentencing hearing began on Monday, August 24, with a significant amount of time dedicated to the court hearing victim impact statements.
Tarrant reportedly appeared emotionless as nearly 90 victims confronted him about the killings, showing the human toll of a massacre that took so many loved ones away from their families.
As per , Aden Diriye – whose young son was shot dead in the massacre – told the court about how the little boy had been beloved by those at the mosque, and had liked to play at being a police officer.
Addressing Tarrant, Diriye said:
Know that true justice is waiting for you in the next life, and that will be far more severe.
Ahad Nabi, whose elderly father, Haji Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, was killed in the shooting, also addressed Tarrant directly, stating:
You hurt my father, but you never took him away from me. You physically hurt him, but gifted my father with becoming a martyr.
I do not forgive you, while you are in prison you will come to the reality that you are now in hell and only the fire awaits you.
Your father was a garbage man, you became trash of society, he is ashamed of your identity. You deserved to be buried in a landfill.
My 71-year-old dad would have broken you in half if you had challenged him to a fight. You are weak.
Many members of the public stood outside the courthouse during the sentencing, showing their support for the victims of the massacre and their families.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the Christchurch massacre.