Christchurch mosque attacks

Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to 51 murders

Brenton Tarrant, 29, also admitted the attempted murder of another 40 people, and one terrorism charge.

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

The gun attacks at two mosques sent shockwaves around the world. In the wake of the killings, New Zealand brought in stricter 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.

Christchurch accused gunman appears in court via video link

Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared via a video link from Auckland Prison in for what was a quiet, ordered hearing.

The public gallery was packed to standing capacity with members of the Muslim community and journalists from New Zealand and around the world.

Armed police were outside as survivors and relatives of victims of the attack arrived at court.

Women in hijabs hugged one another as they arrived at the courtroom. Senior police officers, including Detective Inspectors Dave Lynch and Greg Murton, were seated in the front row of the public gallery.