The ‘shattered’ grandmother of a white supremacist who allegedly killed 50 Muslim worshippers in a mass shooting has said she is ‘sorry and gobsmacked’.
Marie Fitzgerald, 81, said in a tearful interview that it is ‘just so much for everyone to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this’.
Brenton Tarrant, 28,from Australia, is accused of slaughtering dozens and injuring another 50 as they attended Friday prayers.
He ‘live-streamed’ the terror attack in New Zealand and outlined his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto posted online.
Speaking for the first time to Nine News, grandmother Marie said: ‘The media are saying he’s planned it for a long time so he’s not of sound mind.
‘It’s only since he travelled overseas, I think, that that boy has changed.’
She added that Tarrant was a computer enthusiast who spent seven years away from Australia after his father died.
Tarrant’s uncle, Terry Fitzgerald, also spoke to apologise to the families of the victims.
He said: ‘We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured. We just want to go home and hide.’
The suspected Christchurch terrorist appeared in court yesterday after the sickening attack at two mosques that left 49 people dead.
Tarrant appeared to make a white hand power symbol with his right hand as he arrived in court charged with one count of murder. Police said further charges were expected to follow.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said three people, including Tarrant, had been arrested in the wake of the attack.
A fourth person arrested on Friday, who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police, has since been released.
Forty-one people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died at the Christchurch Hospital.
Ms Ardern said in a press conference that the country’s gun laws would change in the wake of the attack.
The country’s prime minister was seen today embracing crowds outside a mosque.
Jacinda Ardern, 38, visited the Kilbirnie mosque to comfort families of victims.