CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday. The shooting had killed 51 people who had congregated at the mosques for their Friday prayers on March 15, 2019. This judgement is a legal first in the country.
Tarrant, 29, rampaged through two Christchurch mosques for 20 minutes during Friday prayers while also live-streaming the event.
Reading out his sentence, Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant's "warped" ideology and "base hatred" led the Australian white supremacist to murder defenceless men, women and children last year.
"Your crimes are so wicked, that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation," Mander said, as quoted by an international news agency.
The judge also read out the names of those murdered in the livestreamed rampage.
"It was brutal and beyond callous. Your actions were inhuman," the judge said, pointing out that Tarrant deliberately attacked Friday prayers to maximise casualties.
The 29-year-old was in his usual impassive demeanour as several families gave out heart-wrenching testimony of their loss in the four-day hearing.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also welcomed the sentence. She has been praised for her compassionate decisions post the Christ Church shootings. After the shootings, the PM tightened gun laws and also put pressure of social media giants to curb online extremism.
"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," she said. "He deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence."
He is likely to be kept in isolation for his own safety at New Zealand's only maximum-security prison in Auckland.