Brenton Harrison Tarrant brought to court to hear the charges against him
Brenton Harrison Tarrant brought to court to hear the charges against him Reuters

The terrorist who gunned down 51 worshippers in a mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Brenton Tarrant, 29, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to the March 15, 2019 attack on two mosques.

The sentence handed down by Justice Cameron Mander was the first time any person received life without parole in New Zealand history. Tarrant is also the first person in New Zealand to be convicted on a charge of terrorism.

Tarrant represented himself at the sentencing hearing, but he instructed attorney Pip Hall to say on his behalf: "Mr Tarrant does not oppose the application. He should be sentenced to life in prison without parole."

At the hearing, Justice Mander read the names of all of the victims of the massacre out loud.

"You showed no mercy. It was brutal and beyond callous -- your actions were inhumane," Mander told Tarrant. "As far as I am able to gauge you are empty of any empathy to your victims. You have said you were in a poisoned emotional state at the time, and terribly unhappy. You felt ostracized by society and wanted to damage society as revenge."

Following the sentencing hearing, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said nothing would reduce the pain caused by the attack, which was the worst mass shooting in modern New Zealand history.

"Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist behind it," said Ardern, who has consistently refused to utter Tarrant's name. "His deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence."

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