Christchurch mosque attack sentencing: Judge praises victim who risked life throwing eftpos machine at terrorist

Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some people.

Brenton Tarrant is being sentenced at the High Court in Christchurch for the mosque killings on March 15, 2019. The hearing is ongoing.

The courage of a man who struggled with the terrorist gunman outside the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch has been praised by the High Court judge at the shooter's sentencing.

Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah finished his dramatic account in court, as a victim of the terrorist attack, thanked the court, and was leaving when Justice Cameron Mander stopped him.

"Before you go," said the Judge. "I have seen the video. I want to acknowledge your courage."

The court then burst into applause for him. 

Abdul Aziz outside the Christchurch High Court.
Abdul Aziz outside the Christchurch High Court. Photo credit: Getty

Wahabzadah called Tarrant a gutless coward. He told the 29-year-old Australian who carried out the mosque attacks last March: "Since your cowardly act, thousands of people have converted to Islam because they know Islam is the religion of peace.

"You should thank Allah that I did not catch you on that day. That would be a different story. This Government would save a lot of money."

When the shooting began, Wahabzadah went out of the mosque to try to find something to defend himself with. All he could find was an eftpos machine. 

He saw Tarrant by his car in the driveway, wearing his bullet-proof vest, army clothes, and the helmet with the camera he used to make the live-streamed video of the shootings. He threw the eftpos machine at Tarrant's head but he started shooting at a range of 3m to 4m, and Wahabzadah took cover between the parked cars. 

Justice Cameron Mander.
Justice Cameron Mander. Photo credit: Pool/Stuff via Getty

He then picked up a rifle Tarrant had discarded and then heard more gunfire inside the mosque where 80 to 100 people remained.

When Tarrant came out, he dropped the gun and ran to his car. Wahabzadah ran up and threw the rifle at the car, breaking the side window.

"I'm killing all of you," Tarrant called at him. 

He chased the car and Tarrant drove through a red light to getaway. 

"He's a coward, but he acts very tough. He's nothing."

When he was taken to the police station, he was told that they had the gunman and he was also there. 

"I asked the police to give me 15 minutes in the cell with him. I wanted to see how much guts he's got without a gun. 

"They refused because they have to follow the law.

"I saw the fear in his eyes when he was running for his life," he said.

Supporters for another victim reading his statement broke into a chant of "Allahu Akbar" as he ended his reading. 

Victims told the court the attack had made their faith stronger than ever, and spoke of the affection and kindness of the people of New Zealand. 

"Your actions brought New Zealanders together, more united," one said. 

Brenton Tarrant being brought into the court on Monday.
Brenton Tarrant being brought into the court on Monday. Photo credit: Pool

Esam Alzhqhoul said: "We hope the authorities will reveal the network behind you. We don't believe you acted alone".

The sentencing continues.