Mosque shooter's life sentence without parole was inevitable

3:17 pm on 27 August 2020

Warning - This story discusses details of the 15 March Christchurch mosque shootings.

Analysis - The Quran teaches that whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.

Victims of the Christchurch terror attack

A montage of the 51 victims. Photo: RNZ

What then for a coward who took not just one innocent soul, but 51 gathered in peaceful worship?

As Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed told the terrorist on Monday: "You were saviour to none".

Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed - victim impact statement.


Sentencing for Brenton Tarrant on 51 murder, 40 attempted murder and one terrorism charge.

Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed confronts the gunman in court. Photo: Stuff / Pool

The brutality, cruelty and scale of Brenton Harrison Tarrant's offending made his sentence of life imprisonment without parole obvious.

If the 29-year-old was not to face New Zealand's harshest possible sentence, then who would?

The callousness of the terrorist's actions were exemplified by his actions towards innocent children.

Little Mucaad Ibrahim, a three-year-old, clutched his father's leg as the terrorist sprayed bullets around Al Noor Mosque's main prayer room.

The gunman took deliberate aim at the wee boy and executed him with two shots.

3 years old at time of his death at the Al Noor Mosque

Mucaad Ibrahim Photo: Supplied

He shot a four-old-year in the head, the child required 14 surgeries and spent almost a month in a coma.

He fired five shots at 16-year-old Hamza Mustafa, killing the teenager as he sheltered among cars outside the mosque.

From his car, en route to Linwood Islamic Centre, the terrorist shot at a father and son on their way to Al Noor Mosque.

The father fell to the ground seriously injured, while his boy attempted to take shelter behind a wall.

The terrorist actioned his firearm, pointed it directly at the boy and pulled the trigger.

The weapon failed to fire, likely saving the child's life.

A two-year-old was shot at Linwood Islamic Centre and remains deeply traumatised.

They are only a few of the targets of the terrorist's rampage.

In all, 51 innocent children, women and men were murdered in cold blood, and attempts were made to kill dozens more.

Indeed, if Brenton Harrison Tarrant was not sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, who would be?

* Tim Brown is an RNZ reporter who covered the four-day sentencing hearing.

More RNZ coverage:


Sentencing for Brenton Tarrant on 51 murder, 40 attempted murder and one terrorism charge.

Christchurch mosque shootings

Justice Cameron Mander.

Justice Cameron Mander imposes the sentence at the High Court in Christchurch. Photo: Stuff Pool

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