Christchurch gunman discussed attacks online a year before carrying them out

In March and August 2018, up to a year before he attacked two Christchurch mosques, Brenton Tarrant posted publicly online that he planned to do so. Until now, these statements have not been identified.

In fact, for four years before his attack, Tarrant had been posting anonymously but publicly on the online message board 4chan about the need to attack people of colour in locations of “significance”, including places of worship.

In its final report in 2020, the royal commission of inquiry into the terror attacks wrote:

The individual claimed that he was not a frequent commenter on extreme rightwing sites and that YouTube was, for him, a far more significant source of information and inspiration. Although he did frequent extreme rightwing discussion boards such as those on 4chan and 8chan, the evidence we have seen is indicative of more substantial use of YouTube and is therefore consistent with what he told us.

Given the importance of online environments in radicalising lone actor terrorists, we questioned this and set out to investigate whether rightwing websites were important in Tarrant’s radicalisation.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)