İrem UZUN -TDO- Brenton Tarrant, the man who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, had plans to target a third mosque, his sentencing hearing has heard. He said he also planned to burn down the mosques, wanting to inflict as many fatalities as possible. The Australian gunman has pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 attempted murders and one charge of terrorism. Tarrant faces life in prison, possibly without parole, which is a sentence never before imposed in New Zealand.
The mass murderer appeared at the High Court in the New Zealand city on Monday, amid heightened security, armed police, barriers and road blocks. The court has heard that after attacking the two mosques in Christchurch, he had been driving to Ashburton, planning a similar attack, when he was stopped by police. In a police interview after the attacks, Tarrant admitted "going into both mosques to kill as many people as he could". Tarrant described his actions as "terror attacks" and said they were intended to instill fear in the Muslim and, more generally, non-European immigrant population, the prosecutor said.
On Monday, he was confronted by survivors and relatives of the victims in court. Some of the survivors broke down in tears as they recalled the attacks and others spoke directly to Tarrant. “You killed your own humanity, and I don’t think the world will forgive you for your horrible crime,” said a tearful Maysoon Salama, the mother of 33-year-old Atta Elayyan, who was killed in attacks. “You thought you can break us. You failed miserably.”