Christchurch mosque terrorist, Brenton Tarrant, sentenced to life in prison without parole

The man behind last year’s mosque shootings in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Brenton Tarrant, the Australian man responsible for the brutal shooting of 51 Muslims in New Zealand’s Christchurch last year, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

Tarrant, now 29, will spend the rest of his life in prison. This marks the first time this sentence has ever been handed down in the country.

brenton tarrant
Photo: AJ+

Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder, as well as one charge of terrorism after he open fired at two different mosques in Christchurch in March of last year. The shooting was broadcast live via Facebook and Tarrant published a manifesto online before the attack. The court heard that Tarrant had been planning it since 2017.

More than 60 victim impact statements were heard throughout the sentencing hearing, which lasted for four days, including from survivors and relatives of victims. Tarrant remained emotionless and offered no apology throughout the sentencing.

The sentence was handed down by Justice Cameron Mander, who described the killings as “brutal” and “inhuman” and rooted in “religious and racial intolerance”.

“Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it would not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” Mander said.

The attack prompted the enacting of stricter gun laws in the country and was described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.