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World New Zealand mosque shooter changes plea to guilty

01:31  26 march  2020
01:31  26 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The Australian man accused of killing 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in March last year entered a surprise guilty plea in court in Christchurch on Thursday, and admitted to all charges, media reports said.

Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of fatally shooting 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand , in court in March.Credit Mark Mitchell/ New Zealand Herald, via Associated Press.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — One year after killing 51 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques, an Australian white supremacist accused of the slaughter on Thursday changed his plea to guilty.

An artwork tribute for victims of the Christchurch twin mosque massacre is seen in front of the Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton on March 22, 2019. - The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast across New Zealand on March 22 as the nation pauses to mark a week since a heavily armed white supremacist stormed two mosques in a murder spree streamed online. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty An artwork tribute for victims of the Christchurch twin mosque massacre is seen in front of the Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton on March 22, 2019. - The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast across New Zealand on March 22 as the nation pauses to mark a week since a heavily armed white supremacist stormed two mosques in a murder spree streamed online. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-nine-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism. The killing spree was the deadliest in New Zealand's modern history and prompted the government to rush through new laws banning most semi-automatic weapons.

Tarrant was scheduled to go to trial on the charges in June. His change in plea came as a surprise and relief to survivors and relatives of the victims.

A sentencing date has yet to be set. Tarrant faces life imprisonment on the charges.

The plea came at a hastily arranged court hearing at a time that New Zealand was beginning a four-week lockdown to try and combat the new coronavirus. The lockdown meant that Tarrant appeared in the court from his jail cell via video link and that only a few people were allowed inside the courtroom.

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