200827 Tarrant
File photo: Brenton Tarrant, the gunman who shot and killed worshippers in the Christchurch mosque attacks, listens as Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh delivers his submission during Tarrant's sentencing at the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, August 27, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Wellington: The Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in 2019 will appeal his conviction and life sentence, a court officer told AFP Tuesday.

Armed with an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons, Brenton Tarrant had attacked Friday worshippers at two mosques in March 2019, livestreaming the killings as he went. His victims were all Muslim and included children, women and the elderly.

Tarrant pleaded guilty in 2020 to 51 charges of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole - the first time a whole-life term has been handed down in New Zealand.

"An appeal against convictions and sentence has been filed," Liz Kennedy, a spokeswoman in the Office of the Chief Justice, said Tuesday.

During the sentence in August 2020, Judge Cameron Mander said he was imposing the harshest possible term for Tarrant's "inhuman" actions.

"Your crimes are so wicked, that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation," Mander said at the time.

Tarrant's lawyer Tony Ellis had said that his client said his pleas were entered under duress and "decided that the simplest way out was to plead guilty".

After Tarrant's 17-minute livestream of his mosque attacks, Facebook said it removed a staggering 1.5 million videos that proliferated within the first 24 hours showing the harrowing viral footage.