The Australian man who carried out the Christchurch terror attack has been sentenced to life in jail without parole.
It’s the first time in New Zealand history that a sentence of that severity has ever been handed down.
Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people and wounded dozens of others when he opened fire during a brazen daylight attack on two mosques in March last year.
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The 29-year-old, who live-streamed part of the shooting rampage on Facebook, pleaded guilty to 51 murders and 40 attempted murders along with one charge of committing a terrorist act.
The sentence was handed down in the Christchurch High Court a short time ago.
“You present as a deeply impaired person motivated by a base hatred of people you perceive to be different from yourself,” Justice Cameron Mander told the court during sentencing.
“You have offered no apology or public acknowledgement of the harms you have caused… While I appreciate that you have forsaken the opportunity to use these proceedings as a platform, you appear neither contrite nor ashamed,” he continued.
Justice Mander described the killings as “brutal and beyond callous”.
“Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it would not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” he said.
“Your actions were inhumane. You showed no mercy. You are not only a murderer, but a terrorist. You sought to essentially attack New Zealand’s way of life.”
Tarrant showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down and did not oppose life without parole.
It comes following a four day hearing where survivors and relatives of victims made emotional impact statements describing their loss.
Following the sentencing of life behind bars, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters the she felt “relief” to know that “this person will never see the light of day”.
She said she hopes the sentencing will give the families of the victims some sense of closure, but acknowledged the trauma caused by the heinous act will never be healed.
“Nothing will take the pain away but I hope you felt the arms of New Zealand around you through this entire process and I hope you can continue to feel that through all of the days that follow,” she said.
“The trauma of March 15 is not easily healed, but today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist behind it… His deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence.”