Christchurch shooter admits 51 counts of murder

Brenton Tarrant, 29, from New South Wales, also admitted the attempted murder of another 40 people, and one charge related to terrorism.

Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Tarrant
Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Tarrant

A man accused of carrying out a massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch last year has pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder.

Brenton Tarrant, 29, from New South Wales, also admitted the attempted murder of another 40 people, and one charge related to terrorism.

A trial date in June had been set as Tarrant had previously denied the charges.

The gun attacks at two mosques sent shockwaves around the world. In the wake of the killings, New Zealand brought in stricter gun laws.

New Zealand is in a state of lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak and the plea was made at a scaled-down court hearing in Christchurch High Court on Thursday.

The sitting was closed to the public and Tarrant and his lawyers appeared via video link.

A representative of the two mosques that were attacked was allowed to attend the hearing to represent the victims and their families.

Mr. Justice Cameron Mander said: "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."

A date has yet to be set for sentencing the man on the 92 charges he pleaded guilty to. Tarrant was remanded in custody until 1 May when the court hopes to be able to set a sentencing date.

Justice Mander added: "There is no intention to sentence the defendant before the court returns to its normal operations and at a time when the victims and their families can attend court in person."

 

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