The shocked family of the man accused of New Zealand’s horrific mass shooting have broken their silence, with his distraught cousin saying he deserves to face the death penalty.
Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder after 50 people were killed in the shocking attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Now his cousin Donna Cox has spoken out in an emotional interview on Channel 7’s Sunday Night show, revealing the huge impact his alleged crimes will have on his parents, who live in Grafton, NSW.
“Just what he’s putting his family through. That he is from… a very respected family, his mum, his dad, were pretty high in the community here,” she said on the show.
“He wasn’t raised like that, but I’m not here to defend him. If I could ask him – I’d ask him why. How could you do that? That’s a twisted mind right there. You’d have to be to be able to do something like that.”
She added: “I hurt more for his mother, his sister, because he was never raised like that, in that sort of environment, you know? There was no violence. No family’s perfect, but certainly nothing like that. Definitely not.”
Tarrant’s mother, Sharon, and sister Lauren have been placed under police protection since the attack, it was reported, without access to a phone.
Meanwhile, Cox went on to claim her cousin was obsessed with guns and violent video games while growing up. He then began travelling the world following his father’s death from cancer in 2010 – where it’s claimed he may have begun to develop extremist views and hatred for non-white immigration.
“I know what he deserves. He deserves the death penalty for what he’s done. That hurts because he is family,” Cox added.
That comes after Tarrant’s grandmother Marie Fitzgerald and uncle Terry Fitzgerald broke their silence on Sunday in an interview with Nine, with the 81-year-old gran expressing her complete shock at the time.
“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this,” she told the network. “The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind.”
The pair then apologised on behalf of their family for what he is accused of doing.
On Friday afternoon the city in the country’s south island was targeted in what has been described as a designated terrorist attack. At about 1.40pm (local time) a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire, before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque.
A bomb was also found in a car on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque. Four people were arrested, but only a 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder.
The gunman is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed eight more people. One person died later in a hospital.