'He'd stop and stare': Neighbour uneasy around terror accused

A Maori woman who was a neighbour of the Christchurch terror accused in Dunedin says the man stared her down in silence whenever they crossed paths.

Meanwhile, the Andersons Bay flat where the Australian suspect lived before the mass killings was host to a private ceremony on Sunday to affirm the man and his white supremacist beliefs have ''no place in Dunedin''.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the woman said other neighbours had described the man as friendly and polite, but he stared at her in uneasy silence whenever he saw her.

''People have said to me, 'how did you handle living across the road from him, because of your skin colour?'

''He'd stop in his tracks whenever he saw me and just stare at me.

''The first time he did it to me, I thought there's something off with this guy. He doesn't want to see me here.''

She would often have coffee in her backyard, and when the man came out of his house he would stop on his steps and stare at her, she said.

''I don't know what he was thinking, when he was looking at me.

''Everyone said he was this nice, friendly person, but that's not the impression I got from him.''

The woman said a ceremony at the flat on Sunday had helped her feel better about having lived across the road from an accused mass killer.

''It's because I'm Maori.

''When something terrible happens ... you want to take away that sadness and replace it, because life goes on.

''That man, he doesn't own this ... this is going to be a home for people in the future.''

The 28-year-old suspect had lived in the flat since August 2017 and tenants continue to live in the adjoining unit.

The man's former Dunedin landlord said a private ceremony was held on Sunday at the property, led by mana whenua, and attended by neighbours, friends and representatives from the city's Al Huda mosque.

''In this way we affirmed that this person and his beliefs have no place in Dunedin.''

Before the shooting, the accused gave notice and moved out.

The landlord previously said the man told him he would be leaving the flat in mid-March. The massacres, in which 50 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, happened on March 15.

Everything the man left in the flat had been removed and destroyed, he said.


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