Brendan Cole: New Zealand shooting leaves Christchurch-born star 'heartbroken' – statement

Brendan Cole: New Zealand shooting leaves Christchurch-born star 'heartbroken' – statement

The former Strictly Come Dancing professional, 42, was born in Christchurch and moved from New Zealand to the UK when he was 18-years-old. After th

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The former Strictly Come Dancing professional, 42, was born in Christchurch and moved from New Zealand to the UK when he was 18-years-old. After the news that 49 people were killed and close to 50 thought to have been injured in the nation’s deadliest attack, Brendan Cole took to Instagram to share an emotional tribute. “With tears in my eyes I struggle to put into words the heartbreak I am feeling and the sadness for the people of my home city,” the progressional dancer said. “Stay strong, stand together and united people. “The world is sending you love and strength through our tears.”

The ex-Strictly star’s fans took to the comments section to share their own tributes, with one saying: “My heart goes out to you and all the people in New Zealand just terrible.”

“So devastating for you lovely, sending hugs and prayers to those in need,” another said, while a third wrote: “Such an atrocious attack on innocent people, thinking of you Brendan at this very sad time.”

Brendan’s statement comes after police said a man in his late 20s had been arrested and charged with murder.

The gunman live-streamed video footage of the attack on Facebook.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack one of the country’s “darkest days”.

“This can only be described as a terrorist attack,” she said. “While we do not have anything to believe at this stage that there were any other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage.”

In addition to the gunman, two other men and one woman were also detained, with one released later.

The shooter identified himself as an Australian and is due in court on Saturday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the individual an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist.

The Queen, reigning constitutional monarch and head of state of the Commonwealth, sent a message of solidarity to the Governor-General of New Zealand this morning, saying she and Prince Philip were “appalled” by the attack.

“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today,” she said.

“Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.”

She went on to praise the emergency services and volunteers providing support in the wake of the attack.

“At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers re with all New Zealanders,” she concluded.

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley, 32, was among the British stars to speak out following the shooting, tweeting her 625,000 followers: “Total and unequivocal solidarity. This is heartbreaking awful. Why so much hate in the world…”(sic)

She later added: “Thoughts and prayers are fine but online hate is doing real damage to society – action is better.

“This is the best way I personally know how,” she continued, sharing tweets from an account called Stop Funding Fake News. 

“I’ll redouble my efforts to fight it with Christchurch mosque at the forefront of my mind.”

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