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NZ mosque shooter pleads guilty to murder

A man accused of killing dozens in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in 2019 has pleaded guilty to fifty-one  charges of murder.

Brenton Tarrant, a twenty-nine-year-old Australian from New South Wales, also admitted the attempted murder of another forty people, and one terrorism charge.

He had previously denied the charges and was due to go on trial in June.

The gun attacks sent shock-waves around the world. In the wake of the killings, New Zealand introduced tougher gun laws.

New Zealand is in a state of lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak and the plea was made at a scaled-down court hearing in Christchurch High Court on Thursday.

No members of the public were allowed in to the hearing and Tarrant and his lawyers appeared via video link.

A representative of the two mosques that were attacked was allowed to attend the hearing to stand in for the victims and their families.

“It is regrettable that the Covid-19 restrictions that presently apply do not permit victims and their families to travel to be present in the courtroom when the defendant entered his pleas of guilty,” Judge Justice Mander said.

Sentencing on the ninety-two charges will take place at a date yet to be set. Tarrant was remanded in custody until May 1.

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