You could, as one of the survivors said afterwards, hear a pin drop as the faithful settled down to listen to the imam’s sermon. Then came the deafening crack of gunfire.
Seconds later panic spread through Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque as those inside realised what was happening and tried desperately to flee or find shelter from the bullets.
By the time the carnage ended 41 lay dead, with seven more people killed at an Islamic centre a few miles away. One more died in hospital, where another 48 were being treated, many for gunshot wounds.
As New Zealanders tried to come to terms with the dreadful events they had just witnessed their Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, described it as one of the country’s...