Accused shooter a 'model tenant', landlords say

3:14 pm on 18 March 2019

By Elena McPhee for the Otago Daily Times

Accused mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant's landlords say he was a model tenant, and they saw no warning signs of the horror unleashed in Christchurch on Friday.

Police outside Dunedin location of interest

Armed officers searched a property in Somerville St, Dunedin. Photo: RNZ/ Tim Brown

A Dunedin man, whom the Otago Daily Times agreed not to name, said he and his wife owned the Somerville St property where Tarrant lived, in the suburb of Andersons Bay in the city.

"He kept the place clean and tidy, and paid his rent," the man said.

"He was polite, friendly and accommodating, and willing to allow access to the property at short notice. We had no suspicions whatsoever and are devastated by this horrific event."

They were shocked by what had happened.

"We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the victims, their families and friends, and all the victims of this terrible tragedy," he said.

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The property was cordoned off on Friday and the bomb squad, with a bomb-detecting robot, arrived on Saturday morning.

The cordon was lifted yesterday and neighbours evacuated from the area were allowed to return to their homes. A police scene guard remained at the property.

Neighbours recalled Tarrant as a quiet and unassuming man, who kept to himself. He was a member of the Bruce Rifle Club, based in Milburn near Milton, and practised shooting at its range.

A person who worked at a South Dunedin gym Tarrant frequented said he had been a member since October 2017. She had never heard of him raising his views about Muslims.

"It's just so crazy. You wouldn't expect something like this.''

She spoke to Tarrant reasonably regularly.

He liked to talk about his travels and was often overseas, including a recent trip over the Christmas break.

He had a strange accent, which she described as sounding like an upper class English accent, with an Australian twang.

Tarrant is believed to have travelled to Pakistan in the past year, and Bulgarian officials are investigating a trip to eastern Europe four months ago.

He is also reported to have visited France, Spain Portugal and Afghanistan.

AP reported Tarrant grew up in Grafton, in northern New South Wales, where he worked as a personal trainer and ran free athletic programmes for children.

His travels since 2016 had also taken him to the Balkans, where he toured historic sites and apparently studied battles between Christians and the Ottoman Empire.

- This story first appeared in the Otago Daily Times.

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