Willington: The daughter of a woman killed in the New Zealand mosque shootings challenged white supremacist Brenton Tarrant at his sentencing hearing. She asked him to use his life in prison to ponder over the beauty of the diversity.
”You robbed me of my mother, of her love and strength. Likely you will also never again feel the love and warmth of your mother’s hug either. While I have pity for your mum, I have no emotion for you. You are nothing,” Angela Armstrong daughter of Linda Armstrong sobbed as she addressed the court in Christchurch on Tuesday.
”While he will remain trapped in a cage my mum is free. I, therefore, challenge Tarrant to use his remaining lifetime to consider the beauty and life to be found in diversity and freedom that he sought to distort and destroy.”
Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, will be sentenced to life in prison this week after pleading guilty to 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the 2019 shooting attack which he livestreamed on Facebook.
A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole, a sentence that has never been used in New Zealand. The second day of a multi-day sentencing hearing is dedicated to allowing survivors and family members of victims to address the court, in person and via video.
Kyron Gosse, nephew of Linda Armstrong, said the shooter had come to New Zealand as a guest, and used that privilege to destroy a family that had lived here for seven generations. “Filled with his own racist agenda this coward hid behind his big powerful guns and shot little old Linda from afar,” said Gosse. “Tarrant stole our nation’s innocence”, said Gosse.
New Zealand had been relatively free from violence until the country’s worst mass shooting.
“Tarrant had carefully planned the attacks to cause maximum carnage by accumulating high-powered firearms and ammunition, training at rifle clubs and studying mosque layouts,” prosecutors told the court on Monday.