The man accused of killing 51 worshippers in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, previous year has changed his plea to guilty.
Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the Christchurch High Court on the first day of the national lockdown in nEW zealand to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the media report.
He also pleaded guilty to 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, TVNZ said.
Two imans from Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where the shootings took place on March 15, 2019, were present in the Christchurch court as representatives of the victims.
The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges during previous hearings.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand is now in full lockdown. "Yes, guilty", Tarrant told the court via videolink from Auckland Prison on Thursday, as the charges were read out to him.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Muslim community expressed relief at the surprise decision, which removes the need for a lengthy trial that authorities feared would be used to spout neo-Nazi propaganda.
"The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding", Justice Mander said. "The defendant has therefore been further remanded in custody until 1 May 2020, at which time the position will be reviewed and either a sentencing date will be set or there will be a further remand in custody", it added.
The man responsible for New Zealand's worst mass murder has finally admitted to the killings.
"I'm happy that he has accepted that he is guilty", Atacocugu said. The court will instead move directly to sentencing Tarrant on all 92 charges.