The grandmother of the white supremacist allegedly responsible for the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers has apologised for her grandson’s actions.
Marie Fitzgerald, 81, joined Brenton Tarrant’s other grandmother Joyce in voicing her incredulity that her grandson was potentially capable of murder.
Speaking for the first time on Sunday from her living room in New South Wales, Mrs Fitzgerald said she was ‘gobsmacked’ when she learnt of the Christchurch attacks.
Mrs Fitzgerald breaking her silence coincides with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paying her respects, embracing members of the devastated community as the death toll hits 50.
Brenton Tarrant was arrested after allegedly gunning down dozens of worshippers on Friday. Pictured is his confronting arrest
‘It’s just so much for everyone to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this,’ she told Nine News.
Mrs Fitzgerald described an adolescent Tarrant as a computer enthusiast who didn’t pay much attention to girls growing up.
She said he would focus on the ‘ins and outs’ of a computer because talking to girls was ‘too hard’.
Regardless, she said he was a ‘normal, happy child’ growing up in Grafton.
She said his father’s death at the hands of cancer in 2010 ‘took its toll’ and prompted seven years of travelling through Europe and Asia.
‘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.’
Foreign border authorities in Turkey and Bulgaria have confirmed they’re investigating Tarrant’s travel history, trying to determine whether he had an ulterior motive for visiting.
Grandmother of Brenton, Marie Fitzgerald (pictured) says her grandson was a computer enthusiast uninterested in girls growing up
Mrs Fitzgerald sat alongside Tarrant’s uncle, who apologised to the families of the victims.
‘We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured. We just want to go home and hide.’
Tarrant’s grandmother from the other side of his family, Joyce, told Daily Mail Australia he was a ‘good boy’ who most recently visited over Christmas.
The news of the attacks devastated the Grafton community, particularly Brenton’s mother Sharon.
She was in class teaching a double-period of English when her son allegedly went on his shooting rampage.
After receiving calls from journalists on Friday afternoon, the Maclean High School teacher had to be pulled out of class and told of her son’s alleged act.
It is believed Tarrant’s sister Lauren has gone into police protection alongside Sharon after being interviewed by counter-terrorism police on Friday.
Daily Mail Australia witnessed Sharon’s pet dog left on the family’s front porch near a pair of empty food bowls.
The alleged shooter’s family approached police as soon as they recognised his face on TV coverage of the attacks, NSW officers said on Saturday.
Joyce said Tarrant visited his family in Grafton, in northern NSW, twice a year.
Joyce Tarrant, 94, said the alleged cold-blooded killer who filmed himself gunning down Muslims during Friday prayers was not the grandson she knew
Joyce said the whole family was struggling with the news.
‘We’re just doing the best we can,’ she said at the door of her weatherboard house under the huge bridge that links Grafton’s north and south.
Joyce said her grandson showed no signs of extremist ideology when she last spoke with him.
Elsewhere in the riverbank town of about 22,000 people, locals were uneasy being at the centre of international attention.
Grafton is famous for its picturesque jacaranda trees, but now also for the evil that grew up there.
‘This has put Grafton on the map, but not in a good way. We had enough to worry about,’ one local said.
Flanked by two much taller armed security officers, Tarrant smiled faintly as he stood behind a small glass barrier which came up just above his eyes.
Tarrant grew up in a picture-perfect house (shown above) in Grafton in the Northern River region of Australia’s New South Wales
‘Tears, shock horror and shame that such evil is associated with not only our country but our home town, another said.
‘I feel so terrible for the people and families affected by this evil act of terrorism.’
Tarrant attended a local high school and then worked as a personal trainer at the local Big River Squash and Fitness Centre from 2010.
But following his father Rodney’s death after a battle with cancer, he allegedly began to turn towards extremism.
A woman who knew Tarrant through the gym said before his father’s death he had never spoken about religion or his beliefs.
‘From the conversations we had about life he didn’t strike me as someone who had any interest in that or extremist views,’ she said.
Tarrant previously worked as a personal trainer at Big River Squash and Fitness Centre in his hometown of Grafton.
‘But I know he’s been travelling since he left Grafton. He has been travelling overseas, anywhere and everywhere.
‘I would say it’s something in the nature of his travels, something he’s been around.
‘I know he’s been to lots of different countries trying to experience lots of different things in life and I would say something’s happened in that time in his travels.’
Prosecutors in Bulgaria have launched a probe into Tarrant’s recent travel to the country.
He visited Bulgaria between November 9 and 15 last year, claiming he wanted ‘to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country’, according to Bulgaria’s public prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.
Tsatsarov said he hoped the inquiry would establish if this was ‘correct or if he had other objectives’.
Turkish border authorities are also examining two trips by Tarrant to the country in 2016, CCTV footage capturing him walking through the airport in March, 2016.
A senior Turkish official says Tarrant spent an ‘extended period of time in the country’ across multiple trips.
He says the suspect may have also traveled on to countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The official says an investigation is underway of ‘the suspect’s movements and contacts within the country’.
Timeline of terror: How the Christchurch shootings unfolded
Friday March 15, 1.30pm local time (12.30am GMT): Alleged gunman identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant live-streams mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers are underway. The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the mosque at the time.
1.42pm: Police respond to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch. People are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour. Shortly afterwards, all schools in the city are placed into lockdown.
1.49pm: Gunman believed to have travelled to Linwood Masjid Mosque, where he allegedly shot dead seven people.
2.10pm: Police confirm they are attending an ‘evolving situation’ involving an ‘active shooter’.
2.18pm: Hero cops detain gunman in dramatic roadside arrest, captured on camera by passing motorists.
3.30pm: Two explosive devices attached to a car are found and disarmed by a bomb squad at Strickland Street, not far from the Al Noor Mosque.
4pm: One person confirmed to be in custody. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says there have been ‘multiple fatalities’ at two locations – both mosques. Mosques across New Zealand are urged to shut their doors.
4.10pm: Prime minister Jacinda Ardern calls it ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.30pm: Mr Bush says three men and one woman are in custody. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms one of those arrested is Australian.
7.30pm: Ms Ardern says 40 are dead and more than 20 are seriously injured but confirms the offender is in custody
National security threat level is lifted from low to high.
7.45pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland is evacuated after bags are found unattended. The bags were deemed not suspicious.
9pm: Death toll rises to 49 and Police Commissioner Bush reveals a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder. The total would later reach 50.
Police are not looking for any named or identified suspects, he says, but adds that it would be ‘wrong to assume that there is no-one else’.
11.50pm: Investigation extends 240 miles to the south where homes are evacuated around a ‘location of interest’ in Dunedin. The address is believed to be that of the accused gunman. The bomb squad attends the next morning.
Tarrant’s grandmother said the white supremacist who filmed himself calmly gunning down Muslims during Friday prayers was not the grandson she knew. (Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described Friday as one of New Zealand’s ‘darkest days’
‘He was very dedicated to his own training and to training others,’ she said. ‘He threw himself into his own personal training and then qualified as a trainer and trained others. He was very good.’
‘When I say he was dedicated, he was dedicated more than most people would be.
‘He was in the gym for long periods of time, lifting heaving weights. He pretty much transformed his body.’
Tarrant faced Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning where he was charged with one count of murder.
Flanked by two much taller armed security officers, Tarrant smiled faintly as he stood behind a small glass barrier which came up just above his eyes.
From behind the glass window he made a white power gesture to those inside the court room.
Police allege that after opening fire inside the Al Noor Mosque Tarrant drove to the Linwood Masjid Mosque across town and continued his rampage.
Accused Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant (pictured) made a white power gesture from behind a glass window, during a brief appearance in court
Police allege that Tarrant began his shooting rampage at the Al Noor Masjid Mosque in the city’s east, before driving across town to the Linwood Masjid Mosque and again opening fire
Hundreds have taken to the streets near the mosques to march and pay tribute to the victims
Short of stature with a stocky build, with thinning hair and beady brown eyes, Tarrant stood squarely in place throughout the entire hearing.
He swivelled his torso around to repeatedly glance at the media, at District Court Judge Paul Kaller and out the windows of the Christchurch District Court.
At the beginning of the hearing he appeared to have a faint smile on his face, but it faded into a neutral expression as the hearing continued.
He is accused of storming the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch at about 1.40pm on Friday, opening fire on worshippers as Friday prayers were underway.
After allegedly killing 41 people, he drove to another mosque in nearby Linwood Avenue, where another seven lost their lives.
Two others have since died in hospital, bringing the death toll to 50 as of 9pm Sunday AEDT.
He was charged with one count of murder but police say many more charges are expected to be laid when he appears in the High Court on April 5.
The hearing was over within minutes, with Tarrant taking one final look at those gathered and marched away.
Candlelit vigils took place across the world, with hundreds paying respect in Christchurch
Among mourners were members of the New Zealand Police who responded to Friday’s attacks
The names of victims of the twin shootings were written on hearts and strung through the streets of Christchurch
VICTIMS OF THE NEW ZEALAND MOSQUE MASSACRES
As of 3am AEDT Sunday
Mucad Ibrahim, 3
Abdullahi Dirie, 4
Sayyad Milne, 14
Khaled Mustafa and his son Hamza, 16
Naeem Rashid and his son Talha, 21
Ansi Karippakulam Alibava, 25
Atta Elayyan, 33
Dr Haroon Mahmood, 40
Husne Ara Parvin, 42
Mohammad Imran Kahn, 47
Amjad Hamid, 57
Linda Armstrong, 65
Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71
Lilik Abdul Hamid, unknown age
Ashraf Ali, unknown age
Tributes begin flowing for victims of the massacre
Fifteen of the 50 victims of the attacks have been identified by shattered family members, many sharing tales of hope, bravery and despair.
The speculated fatalities include Palestinian surgeon Dr Amjad Hamid, 57, who had moved to New Zealand with his wife for a better life, and Kuwait futsal goalkeeper Atta Elayyan, 33, who had recently become a father.
Hamid, a respected cardiologist, and Elayyan, a national-level futsal player, have been identified as victims of the Christchurch mosque massacre – as a confronting new picture of the killer’s arrest has emerged.
Another believed to be among the dead is Bangladeshi Husna Parvin, who was reportedly gunned down as she tried to save her wheelchair-bound quadriplegic husband from the shooter.
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was also named among the dead after he passed away in the arms of his father and brother, who only survived because he played dead.
A further 60 people remain on the official missing persons list, with hope dwindling for distraught family members who haven’t heard from their loved ones.
Desperate pleas for information are intertwined with tributes for the dead, as thousands across the nation mourn.
National-level futsal player Atta Elayyan (right) was reportedly killed on Friday. He is being remembered as an ‘inspiration’
Also believed to be among the dead is Husna Ara Parvin (pictured), who was reportedly gunned down as she tried to save her quadriplegic husband from the shooter
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim (left) was also named among the dead after he passed away in the arms of his father and brother, who only survived because he played dead. Cardiologist Amjad Hamid (right) was mowed down after moving to New Zealand 23 years ago because he wanted a better future for himself and his wife
Mucad Ibrahim (pictured left) was attending Friday prayers with his father and older brother Abdi Ibrahim (pictured right) when a gunman stormed the Al Noor mosque
Haji Daoud Nabi (pictured), 71, a father-of-five and retired engineer, moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977 and set up a new life as one of the ‘first Muslims in New Zealand’. He is thought to be among the dead in the Christchurch shooting
Naeem Rashid (pictured), from Abbottabad in Pakistan, was hailed a hero after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchurch shooter on Friday. But he was badly wounded after sadly died later in hospital
Mr Rashid (centre) worked in Pakistan at a private bank before moving to Christchurch where he worked as a teacher. In a tragic twist, Mr Rashid’s 21-year-old son, Talha, also lost his life during the mass shooting
Omar (pictured) said his father was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, opening the Tuam Street mosque in Christchurch, after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’
A Facebook appeal has been issued for missing man Lilik Abdul Hamid (pictured), who is thought to have died in the mosque
Cashmere High School student Sayyad Milne (pictured), 14, who was at Friday prayers when the shooting started, is believed to be dead. Although it’s not been officially confirmed, his father has spoken of his loss
Ashraf Ali (pictured) a respected imam at the Masjid Al Noor mosque who was originally from Fiji, is also thought to be among the dead
Abdul Qayyum (pictured) a close friend of Ashraf Ali, who is confirmed dead, said he will always remember his ‘quiet’ friend’s laugh
Dr Haroon Mahmood (pictured) leaves a wife and two children aged 13 and 11
A spokesman for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that five Pakistani citizens are missing (pictured missing person Syed Jahandad Ali)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embraces crowds at a New Zealand mosque
There were emotional scenes outside a New Zealand mosque Sunday as the country’s Prime Minister embraced crowds – just days after a shooter massacred dozens of worshipers at Friday prayer.
Jacinda Ardern visited the Kilbirnie mosque to comfort those affected by the tragic shooting which saw 50 worshipers including children, a renowned heart surgeon and a talented sportsman shot dead as they prayed.
White supremacist Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the sickening attack on Facebook in which he allegedly killed dozens of Muslims during Friday prayers using four guns at two mosques.
He subsequently appeared smirking in court charged with murder on Saturday morning, after allegedly opening fire inside the Al Noor Mosque before driving to the Linwood Masjid Mosque across town and continuing his rampage.
It has now emerged that his extremist views may have been fueled by a trip to Britain, which he made during a two-month-tour of Europe.
With The Sunday Telegraph quoting a senior government source as saying he ‘transitted’ through Britain in 2017, staying ‘for a few weeks’.
The newspaper claims that in the summer of 2017, Tarrant hired a car in eastern France where he visited war graves, before heading to the UK possibly by ferry.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie Mosque on Sunday, as she meets with members of the Islamic community
Ms Ardern (pictured with a mosque-goer) visited the Wellington based mosque to pay her respects and comfort those affected by the tragedy - New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting
The Prime Minister lays a wreath at the mosque, as 50 people are confirmed dead following the tragic shooting including children, a renowned heart surgeon and a talented sportsman
Ms Ardern was greeted by members of the Islamic community as she visited the Kilbirnie Mosque. Her visit comes days after a shooter massacred dozens of worshipers at Friday prayer at two mosques in Christchurch
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and finance minister Grant Robertson look on at the Kilbirnie Mosque, among hundreds of other mourners who arrived to pay their respects
Mourners also gathered outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Sunday to lay flowers and tributes to the dead
A large pile of tributes begins to form outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, one of the locations where Australian Brenton Tarrant is said to have opened fire on worshippers at Friday prayer
- 'You killed your own humanity': Grieving mother tells Christchurch mosque gunman who slaughtered 51 Muslims 'the world will not forgive you' as he faces survivors in court ahead of sentencing
- Christchurch terrorist WILL NOT say a word before he is sentenced for massacring 51 Muslim worshippers, after his victims spent three days giving harrowing testimony in court
- New Zealand mosque gunman waives right to speak at sentencing
- After the Christchurch shootings, New Zealand promised change. But Muslims there still don't feel safe
- Parents of Jacob Blake says they are praying for police officers and denounce 'violence and destruction' that has rocked Kenosha in the wake of his shooting as lawyers say 'it will take a miracle' for him to walk again
- Furious families of the ISIS 'Beatles' victims slam bungling UK legal system for letting them 'escape justice' in the US as it's revealed Britain STILL can't send crucial evidence to America because it violates their 'data protection rights'
- Melania Trump pleads for an end to 'looting and violence in the name of justice' as she tackles racial division, mourns victims of COVID and backs her husband saying he gives 'total honesty' and 'loves America'
- 'I'm sorry for the suffering I caused': Rapper finally apologises to Louella Michie's heartbroken family for killing her with a fatal drugs overdose at Bestival as he is jailed for eight-and-a-half years
- Pot blasts kettle: Bill tears into fellow impeached President Trump accusing him of spending 'hours a day watching TV' - labeling his Oval Office 'chaos' and saying America leads world in unemployment in wake of COVID - as he backs Biden at DNC
- New Zealand mosque terrorist sentenced to life in prison with no parole
- The 80 best Netflix series and TV shows to watch right now
- Donald Trump tweets 'does he even know what's happening?' as Joe Biden is formally nominated as the Democratic candidate - and Jill lashes back 'ridiculous!'
- Despair and delight of UK's Covid exam generation: From the young carer robbed of a university place to twins who scored identical A*s and are now off to Oxford
- New Zealand mosque shootings: Brenton Tarrant to face survivors at four-day sentencing hearing
- Death of a teenager
- FMIA: Repeat in a Pandemic? Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs on a Mission
- Eric Trump rejects 'fluffy messages' of Democratic National Convention: There was no specificity
- A Reggae King Rises Again
'How could anyone in our family do this?' 'Shattered' grandmother of 'Christchurch gunman' reveals how he went from a computer nerd to extremist after overseas trip - and says sorry to victims have 3988 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at March 17, 2019. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.