New Zealand

‘Nothing comparable’ to Linwood mosque scene, inquest told

The scene at the Linwood Islamic Centre following the Christchurch terror attacks was unlike anything he had been confronted by before, a community doctor who rushed to help wounded worshippers says.

The inquest into 51 lives lost during the March 2019 shootings at two mosques in the city resumed on Monday following a one-week recess.

Dr Graham Whitaker, a GP at a Linwood community health clinic near the mosque, was the first to give evidence this morning.

He told the inquest offered his help to police responding to the shooting on March 15 in 2019.

Seven people were killed at the Linwood mosque.

First responders did a good job considering the unprecedented circumstances, Dr Whitaker said.

“I’ve been a doctor for 30 years – nothing is comparable to what it was like to be inside the mosque,” he said. 

“The emotional intensity, the pressure and the tension was off the scale. The individuals that were working with the person that I tried to assist with, I think, did a good job.”

The inquest had previously heard a police call-taker was alerted to a threat against Linwood Islamic Centre, minutes before the gunman arrived there.

A parliamentary staffer made a 111 call to police within two minutes of receiving an email containing the terrorist’s manifesto, after it was forwarded by another staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office on the day of the attack.

The call was categorised as a “Priority 2”, meaning it was virtually lost as other calls about the mass shooting happening at Al Noor Mosque were listed as “Priority 1”.

Senior Sergeant Roy Appley, a commander in the police southern communications centre on the day of the massacre, told the inquest he had been unaware of the call until he was preparing for the inquest.

Questioning from counsel assisting the coroner, David Boldt, revealed that the call was not even discussed during police debriefs following the attacks.

The inquest continues. ‘Nothing comparable’ to Linwood mosque scene, inquest told

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