Victims, survivors and loved ones have continued to deliver moving victim impact statements in the High Court at Christchurch today. Here are some of the statements shared during day three of the four-day sentencing which will tomorrow see Brenton Tarrant jailed for life.

Sara Qasem

Sara Qasem gives her victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Photo / AP
Sara Qasem gives her victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Photo / AP

Sara Qasem said her father Abdelfattah Qasem, 60, died a hero after being shot in the head during the Al Noor rampage.

The schoolteacher demanded Tarrant knew her father's name, repeatedly saying his name, and challenging that he paid attention.


In an emotionally-charged, heartbreaking victim impact statement, the court heard how the slaying of Qasem, an IT specialist originally from Palestine who had studied in Canada and the United States, had devastated his family.

Sarah remembered a "shining, glimmering man", a sweet, devoted father who never missed a Friday prayer.

"My Dad added value to this nation … I want to hear his voice. I want to hear my Dad's voice – my Baba's voice."

And when the shooting started, and he realised he survived the first attack, he stayed to help his brothers.

He died a martyr, she said, "putting others before himself" as he always did.

"This should not have happened. You made a choice here. A conscious, stupid, irresponsible, cold-blooded, selfish, disgusting, heinous, evil choice."

Tarrant blinked rapidly as Sara Qasem didn't hold back.

"I am uncertain there will be enough justice for what has happened at the hands of a terrorist – that's you," she said.


"However, I know one thing for sure - this monster who murdered my father, and the other beautiful souls that day in March, is a coward. That would be a familiar term to you. Those that fight with guns – cowards. You know you're not strong. You know you're weak. Look at yourself."

She urged the terrorist to take a look around the courtroom and ask himself: "Who exactly is the other here, right now? Is it us? Or is it you? I think the answer's pretty clear."

Sazada Akhter

Sazada Akhter. Photo / Pool
Sazada Akhter. Photo / Pool

Sazada Akhter sat in her wheelchair and cried as her harrowing victim impact statement was read to the court.

The 26-year-old revealed how she was planning to have a baby when the heavily-armed Tarrant stormed the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Ave.

From the women's prayer room, she heard gunfire and ran outside.

"I was running away from him and he shot me," she said.


"I fell on the road, I didn't know if he had shot me or I had fallen. I thought I was going to die, I started reciting the Quran."

She spent many days in hospital unable to speak – and in total, more than a month in critical care.

Then, she was told she would never walk again.

"I thought, why be alive," she said.

"Every moment is still very hard … I can't sleep. I have lots of problems all over my body. I can't do anything normal anymore.

"I'm in a wheelchair for the rest of my life."


She had to leave the courtroom as her statement continued to be read.

In it she vowed to have a good life and spoke of her goal to become a teacher.

"While you are in prison, please think about what you have done to me," she urged the killer.

"I will survive. I will achieve my goals and dreams."

Ahmed Khan

Ahmed Wall Khan. Photo / Pool
Ahmed Wall Khan. Photo / Pool

Ahmed Khan called for Tarrant to be given "the toughest punishment ever" in the history of New Zealand.

He referred to the death of Tarrant's own father and asked him to think of how he felt at the time.


"Multiply that by 51," he said, also referring to Tarrant's mother Sharon.

Tarrant showed no emotion.

"You texted your mother before the attack … that shows how selfish you are," Khan said.

"You will go down in history as the man who has brought shame to the Tarrant family.

"You will forever be known as a failed terrorist … but did not [have] success in spreading your ideology."

John Milne

John Milne holds a photograph of his son, Sayyad Milne, during his victim impact statement. Photo / AP
John Milne holds a photograph of his son, Sayyad Milne, during his victim impact statement. Photo / AP

Grieving father John Milne took three photographs of his slain 14-year-old son Sayyad Milne into the courtroom – and wanted the judge, and the killer who he referred to in court by his Christian name, to keep copies.


Moving away from the usual victim impact statements, he began by saying, 'He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. The people, the people, the people.'

Milne described hearing how his son had been shot dead at Al Noor Mosque in a "callous, deliberate act of terror".

"You Brenton, were the gunman. The killer of 51 defenceless men, women and little children," he said.

"I have forgiven you Brenton. Even though you murdered my 14-year-old son Sayyad."

The murder has left a huge hole in his heart that will only heal when he sees his son again in heaven, he said.

"I hope to see you there too Brenton. And if you get the chance, I would love you to say sorry to Sayyad. I am sure he has forgiven you too."


Milne thanked Tarrant for eventually pleading guilty to the murders and saving "so much extra pain".

"I'm a victim but here's the real victim," he said, holding up a photograph of his son. He added that he wants Tarrant to keep a copy.

"Once again, you are forgiven unconditionally, Brenton. Please remember his name Sayyaad. S.A.Y.Y.A.D."

Milne concluded by saying that he wanted Tarrant now to be sent back to Australia.

Hisham Alzarzour

Hisham AlZarzour. Photo / Pool
Hisham AlZarzour. Photo / Pool

Hisham Alzarzour escaped war-torn Syria with his wife Susan to have a better life in New Zealand.

He had planned to read his statement but decided not to – he did not want the gunman to hear the impact the shooting had on him.


Alzarzour was shot in the hip at Al Noor.

He has had multiple surgeries and still suffers pain – both physically and mentally.

"You are a coward, and you will be in hell," he said to Tarrant.

Rahimi Bin Ahmad

Nor Abd Wahib and her husband Rahimi Bin Ahmad give their victim impact statement. Photo / AP
Nor Abd Wahib and her husband Rahimi Bin Ahmad give their victim impact statement. Photo / AP

Rahimi Bin Ahmad, a 40-year old service technician who was shot and badly wounded at Al Noor, was led into the courtroom in a wheelchair. He was at Friday prayer with his 10-year-old son.

"I was shot through my right side and lower back below my stomach … the shrapnel scattered throughout my lower back," he said in a statement, which was read to the court.

"I spent seven days unconscious in ICU and when I woke up I was paralysed. I wondered if I would ever walk again and at one time I thought they might need to amputate my right leg.


"I can remember every single moment of the shooting. It was nearly three months until I was able to come home."

He underwent multiple surgeries to wash out the bullet fragments – but that would spread them more and make his pain worse.

"They had to stop," he said.

He felt stressed, helpless and angry at his situation.

"I felt that I had lost control about my future and my ability to look after my family," he said.

"I can now sleep a maximum of four hours a night but it is common for me to go without sleep a couple of nights a week due to the pain of my injuries.


"This leaves me heavily fatigued ... I can't live a normal life."

It took him a month to learn to walk again. He can now walk with the aid of crutches.

"Most likely I will continue to have spinal pain the rest of my life," he said.

He worried about the impact the shooting had on his son who cannot be named for legal reasons.

"I feel guilty that I brought my son to the mosque that day and I blame myself for him experiencing what happened," he said.

"I worry for my son's soul – he has nightmares now and wasn't able to sleep at night for about four months after the shooting.


"The flashbacks of seeing me shot and others dying around me ... it makes me cry thinking about it."

Esam Alzhqhoul

Esam Alzhqhoul. Photo / Pool
Esam Alzhqhoul. Photo / Pool

Esam Alzhqhoul blasted Tarrant and urged all Kiwis to learn more about Islam.

"Ignorance is the biggest enemy of all of us," he said.

"You hid behind your guns to kill women and children – a 3-year-old child, you looked him in the eye and you killed him.

"You have chosen New Zealand; it's a peaceful country where people have no such experience, to increase your chance of staying alive.

"You made sure to choose a country that allows you to walk out alive.


"You have stolen the most precious thing in New Zealand – peace. But the whole country stands against you."

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