Christchurch killer sentenced to life without parole

Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people in Christchurch

A New Zealand court has sentenced a white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch to life in prison without parole.

Brenton Tarrant, 29,is the first person in the country's history to receive this sentence.

Tarrant had pleaded guilty during court proceedings in Christchurch to murder, attempted murder and terrorism over the attacks in the city.

The judge called his actions "inhuman", adding that he had "showed no mercy".

Judge Cameron Mander said:"Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment." said.

He added that such life sentences without parole were reserved only for the "very worst murders".

Tarrant had the opportunity to speak on the final day of a four-day hearing, which had seen 90 survivors and family members talk about the pain of the March 2019 attacks at two mosques in the city.

He had earlier dismissed his legal team but was appointed a standby lawyer at the high court.

The Al Noor and Linwood mosques attacked in March 2019, 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.

What took place on the day of the shooting?

Tarrant first targeted worshippers inside the Al Noor mosque. Less than 30 seconds later, he returned to his car to pick up another weapon and then re-entered the mosque and resumed shooting at those inside.

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.

He then drove to the Linwood Islamic Centre where he shot two people outside and then shot at the windows.

A man from inside rushed outside and picked up one of the attacker's shotguns before chasing him away.

Tarrant background

Born in the Australian state of New South Wales, Tarrant moved to New Zealand in 2017 and it is believed that he started planning his attacks against the Muslim community.

He was active on fringe online forums and posted a 74-page "manifesto" online prior to his attack.

"I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide and the affect it could have on the politics of the United States and thereby the political situation of the world," he wrote in his manifesto, according to a New York Times report.

Country's leaders comment on sentencing

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described him as an "extremist, right-wing terrorist", While New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Arden said: "Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist."

Tarrant in March pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, reversing his earlier not guilty pleas.

It is reported that Tarrant had recently told assessors that he now rejects his extremist philosophy and considers his attacks "abhorrent and irrational." But the judge said that despite this, he had still shown no empathy towards his victims or sorrow for what he had done.