You could, as one of them said, hear a pin drop as the faithful settled down to hear the imam’s sermon. Then came the deafening crack of gunfire.
Seconds later panic spread through the Al Noor mosque as those inside realised what was happening and tried desperately to flee to safety or find shelter where they could from the bullets.
By the time the carnage ended 41 people lay dead, with seven more killed at an Islamic centre a few miles away. One more died of their injuries 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…