Brenton Tarrant, the 29-year-old Australian White nationalist charged with killing 51 moslems in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last year has changed his plea to guilty and was convicted of murder.
He appeared via video link in a hearing at Christchurch High Court, where he admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.
"He has been convicted of each and every one of those charges. There is now no need for a trial and the six-week hearing set down for June can be vacated," presiding judge Justice Cameron Mander said in minutes of the hearing.
Tarrant was remanded in custody until May 1 and will be sentenced at a later date.
The change of plea by Tarrant, who last year pleaded not guilty to the 92 charges in relation to the attacks, removes the need for a lengthy trial that many feared would provide a "propaganda opportunity".
Tarrant shot dead 51 moslems on March 15 last year and injured a further 49 moslems at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Islamic Centre mosques in Christchurch in the biggest mass shooting in the Pacific nation’s history. The former gym instructor used automatic weapons during the attacks, which were streamed live on the internet and broadcast by social media platforms, including Facebook.
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Tarrant posted a 74-page manifesto online ahead of the assault that was geared to gain as much attention as possible to the global white genocide program.
It was unclear what had caused Tarrant’s change of heart regarding his plea.