Canadian gets life sentence for Quebec mosque shooting

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A Canadian man who shot and killed six members of a Quebec city mosque in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison by a local court.

But Huot said Bissonnette had previously considered attacking other targets including feminists, shopping centres and airports. He referred to numerous attacks and said he "lost it" after learning Canada was preparing to take in more refugees. In the case of McArthur, who killed eight men from Toronto's gay village, the Crown had sought a sentence of 50 years without parole eligibility; the judge ruled he can apply for parole after 25 years, when he is 91 years old.

But the judge also said Bissonnette's mental health issues, including an obsession with suicide, played a role in the shooting and influenced his sentence.

Alexandre Bissonnette is escorted to a van in Quebec City after appearing in court for the deadly shooting at a mosque.

The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers including Justin Bourque, who murdered three RCMP officers in a shooting spree in New Brunswick in 2014.

This was a Reuters error as the judge was still reading his judgment.

Bissonnette also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people.

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Following hearings previous year, the sentence was expected to be handed down in October, but the judge delayed it to have more time to ponder his decision.

Witnesses at the time described the former Universite Laval student entering the Islamic Cultural Centre and calmly opening fire on the crowd gathered for evening prayers.

The crime prompted an outpouring of horror and sympathy that reached across Canada and around the world, prompting a wider conversation on Islamophobia, intolerance, and the need for better understanding between communities. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".

But in a police interrogation, Bissonnette told investigators he wanted to protect his family from terrorists when he committed the killings.

"No matter the outcome of today's decision, nothing can diminish the incredible support & solidarity felt by many Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attack, and during the past 2 years", the group said on Twitter.

That 150-year sentence would have been the longest ever imposed in Canada and meant that he would die in prison.

But Renald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette's sentencing, doesn't think the sentence would be easy to overturn.