Christchurch attacker to face 50 murder charges

Christchurch attacker to face 50 murder charges

SYDNEY- Reuters
Christchurch attacker to face 50 murder charges

The Australian man accused of killing 50 Muslim worshippers in gun attacks on two mosques in Christchurch will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges, New Zealand police said on April 4.

"Other charges are still under consideration," police said in a statement.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was previously charged with only one murder following the attack and has been remanded without a plea.

He is due back in court on April 5. The March 15 attack was the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in New Zealand. 

In the meantime, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on April 4 she paid for a harried mother's groceries in a gesture sure to enhance a reputation already soaring because of her response to the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Ardern was reluctant to discuss the incident, revealed on social media, involving a mother-of-two who was ahead of the prime minister at a supermarket checkout when she realized she did not have her purse.

"(Ardern) paid for my friends' shopping in the supermarket the other day when she had forgotten her purse and had two screaming kids in tow," Twitter user Helen Burness posted, adding: "like we didn't love her enough.”

Ardern swiftly wrapped up a media appearance when asked why she had helped the woman, replying only, "because she was a mum.”

The 38-year-old had her own daughter Neve last June, becoming only the second prime minister in the world to give birth while in office, and later taking the infant onto the floor of the U.N. Assembly in New York.

She has won widespread praise for her response to the Christchurch attacks.

The New Zealand Herald has described her actions as a mix of "solace and steel" after she donned the hijab while comforting devastated families and also moved swiftly to tighten gun laws.