NZ attacker planned to target 3rd mosque

Christchurch: The gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch city in 2019 had plans to target a third mosque, it was revealed at his sentence hearing.

Dressed in grey prison clothes and surrounded in the dock by three police officers, the gunman, Australian national Brenton Tarrant, reportedly remained silent, occasionally looking around the room where survivors and relatives of the victims were sitting.

Crown Prosecutor Barnaby Hawes told the court that the gunman had begun formulating a plan years earlier, and his goal was to “inflict as many fatalities as possible”.

He gathered information about mosques in New Zealand, studying floor plans, locations and further details, with the aim of targeting them at the time they would be busiest.

In the months before the attack, he travelled to Christchurch and flew a drone over the Al Noor mosque, his primary target.

He also planned to target the Ashburton Mosque in addition to the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, but was detained while on his way.

On the day of the attack, he shot people on the street as they tried to escape the Al Noor mosque, the court heard.

Tarrant is representing himself in court. He had previously denied the charges and was due to face trial in June, but reversed his plea, the BBC reported.

He faces a minimum sentence of 17 years, but Justice Cameron Mander, the High Court judge presiding over the case, has the power to sentence him to a full life term with no parole – a sentence never before imposed in New Zealand.

Image courtesy of (credit: Wikipedia)

Share this post