Victim of Christchurch mosque attack pleads with coroner to refer to Brenton Tarrant as 'the terrorist'

The words "please call him the terrorist" were shouted from the public gallery during the coronial inquest into the March 15 attack on Thursday. 

One of the victims from Al Noor Mosque told the court referring to gunman Brenton Tarrant as "Mr Tarrant" was offensive, but the coroner refused his request.   

"I think we should subtitle this man so it's crystal clear," the victim said. "All the victims want that his name shouldn't be taken under Mr Tarrant.  

"He's not a Mr, can you call him a Terrorist please."  

"I appreciate your comment but this is a court, and he is entitled to be called Mr Tarrant in this court," coroner Brigitte Windley responded.  

"Just say his name, not 'Mr' please," the man pleaded.  

"I understand your concern but this is my court, and he will be addressed as I have indicated," Windley reiterated.  

Coroner Brigitte Windley rejected the man's request on Thursday.
Coroner Brigitte Windley rejected the man's request on Thursday. Photo credit: Newshub

Earlier on Thursday, there were other audible reactions in the public gallery as police were put under immense pressure about inaction when the 111 calls started coming in on that fateful day.  

Audio from the first 111 call from the public was shared in court.   

"We are beside the mosque temple, machine gun fire, can hear it in the background - it's urgent," the female caller told the 111 operator. 

That call came in at the same time a parliamentary staffer was on the phone to a 111 operator outlining exactly who the terrorist was, what he was doing and where.  

However, the person taking that call had no idea multiple other calls about the attack were coming into the same communications room.   

"Wouldn't it have helped if communicators such as her get an alert on her screen 'P1 event: Multiple gunshots at mosque in Christchurch?'" asked Anne Toohey, counsel for some of the families. 

"Potentially, yes," responded Insp Ian Harris, who was the national operations manager for the police communication centres at the time of the massacre.  

Counsel also asked whether a different line to 111 should exist so if Parliament got a terrorism threat today, like on March 15, they wouldn't call a 111 communications centre operator - but instead call a sworn officer directly to report it so it could be acted on immediately.   

"That could have been one aspect that would have potentially made a difference," Harris admitted. Counsel assisting the coroner David Boldt asked Harris why the 111 operator labelled the call from Parliament as Priority 2 (P2), or non-urgent - and why they didn't dispatch anyone.  

"What about when he mentioned the mosque?" Boldt asked.  

"That would be a call for her," Harris responded.  

"No, it's a call for you, you're here as an expert commenting on what she did," Boldt said. "That is a specific threat to attack a specific place and you're still telling us P2 is appropriate?"  

Despite having that information, police didn't descend on Linwood Mosque but the terrorist did.   

And, 12 minutes after that call came in, the lives of seven more worshippers were savagely taken.