New Zealand mosque massacre gunman linked actions to Rotherham child sex abuse scandal

Gun cartridge with words 'For Rotherham'

At least 49 people have died in New Zealand's worst ever mass shooting, which appears to have been, at least partially, linked to the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal.

On one of the guns used in the shootings were marked the words: 'For Rotherham'. This has been widely accepted as a reference to the 1400 children groomed and abused by men of predominately Pakistani heritage.

This latest attack, in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the third where far-right individuals have committed acts of terror in apparent revenge for the Rotherham scandal.

In 2015, the 81-year-old grandfather Mushin Ahmed was murdered in a racially-motivated attack; two men were later jailed.

In 2017, Darren Osborne deliberately drove a van into Makram Ali, killing him; at his trial, a film about the Rochdale grooming scandal was described as a 'trigger' and he was jailed was 43 years.

Sammy Woodhouse, the Rotherham abuse survivor, tweeted that the "evil act" was "not done in our name".

Dr Alan Billings, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire, played down the connection to the region's sexual abuse scandals.

He also ruled out any special significance of a list of Wikipedia pages about the Rotherham, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley child abuse scandals, which was published in a 'manifesto' for the killings by suspect Brenton Tarrant.

Speaking to Calendar the PCC said: "The people who perpetrated this terrible act had drawn up a long list of different parts of the world where there had been incidents in the past.

"They've referenced our part of South Yorkshire as well, but I don't think it's any more than that.

"Just to reassure people, I don't think there's any reason to suppose that anything's going to happen here but it's one of those unfortunate things.

  • Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire

Cllr Chris Read, the leader of Rotherham Council, decried the attack as "twisted" and said the Rotherham link "makes this personal for us".