New Zealand mosque attacker admits killing 51 Muslim worshippers

The Australian man went on a shooting rampage at two mosques

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 26: General view of Christchurch High Court during the hearing of Brenton Harrison Tarrant  on March 26, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Tarrant has plead guilty to 92 charges relating to New Zealand's worst mass shooting in history. The Australian is charged with 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder as well as a engaging in a Terrorist Act after opening fire at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, 2019. 50 people were killed, and dozens were injured while another man died later in hospital.  (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The far-right Australian terrorist who killed more than 50 people in the Christchurch massacre last year has pleaded guilty to the charges.

The 29 year old shot dead 51 Muslim worshippers in the mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques last year.

On Thursday he pleaded guilty to all charges in an unexpected reversal.

He had previously denied 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of engaging in a terrorist act, but changed his plea after a hurriedly arranged court hearing.

"Yes, guilty," he told Christchurch High Court by videolink from Auckland Prison.

Wearing a grey top, he stared intently at the camera while making his plea.

No reason was given for the change, which means he will no longer need to stand trial over the shooting.

Judge Cameron Mander recorded convictions on all charges and said the man would be sentenced at a date yet to be determined.

"The guilty pleas represent a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding," Mr Mander said.

The plea came with New Zealand in its first day of a four-week Covid-19 lockdown.

Mr Mander said sentencing would not take place until the court system had returned to normal, "at a time when victims and their families can attend the court in person".