The Australian man who perpetrated one of the worst terrorist attacks in modern history has made a stunning about-face, and has now pleaded guilty to all 51 murders that occurred during the heinous shooting attacks on two Christchurch mosques just over one year ago.
29-year-old Grafton-born Brenton Tarrant appeared before a hastily organised High Court sitting in New Zealand this morning, where he formally entered pleas of guilty on all 51 murder charges, as well as 40 charges of attempted murder, and one charge of engaging in a terrorist act.
In doing so, Tarrant admitted being the lone gunman responsible for perpetrating the cowardly act, which occurred across a terrifying handful of hours on March 15th of last year. On that day, Tarrant entered the Masjid Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre and opened fire on worshipers, live-streaming the callous act on Facebook.
Tarrant appeared in court this morning via video link, reportedly exhibiting little emotion as each of the 51 victims’ names was read aloud. Very few people were in attendance this morning due to coronavirus-related restrictions currently in place in New Zealand. The court hearing was reportedly so last-minute that none of the victims of the attack knew it was taking place.
The 2019 massacre sparked widespread condemnation and a global outpouring of grief. In the days that followed, authorities enacted a massive crackdown on right-wing extremist, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist-associated online message board services such as 8chan.
Previously, Tarrant had entered pleas of not guilty on all charges, and had been deemed fit to stand trial at a hearing that was scheduled to begin on July 2nd. That date is now vacated, with New Zealand Justice Cameron Mander today convicting Tarrant on every charge he pleaded guilty to.
He is now set to re-appear on May 1st, where a sentencing date will be set. Sentencing will likely not occur until coronavirus movement restrictions have been lifted.Image: Getty Images / Sanka Vidanagama