A New Zealand court has handed down a life sentence without parole to a self-avowed white supremacist who admitted to killing 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand last year.
Australian Brenton Tarrant did not speak when Christchurch High Court Judge Cameron Mander handed down the sentence Thursday on the last day of a four-day sentencing hearing. It is the first time a life sentence without parole has ever been imposed in New Zealand.
Judge Mander called Tarrant’s actions “inhuman” as he handed down the sentence and described the 29-year-old as “entirely self-absorbed.”
“You are empty of any empathy for your victims,” the judge told Tarrant.
Tarrant told the judge through his court-appointed lawyer that he did not oppose his life sentence without parole. He had dismissed his original lawyers last month.
About 90 survivors and family members of the March 15, 2019, attacks at the al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch gave victim statements during the sentencing hearings. Tarrant sat impassively as the witnesses testified in varying degrees of emotions, from red hot anger to expressions of forgiveness.
Tarrant unexpectedly pleaded guilty back in March to 51 counts of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism. Hours before carrying out the shootings, Tarrant published a long manifesto online explaining his reasonings for the attacks. He then livestreamed the attacks on Facebook, which was viewed by scores of people around the world before it was taken down.
It was the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. The massacre led to a ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles and a new nationwide firearms registry that traces every gun in New Zealand.