A homeless man who often sat and begged outside the Al Noor mosque has revealed how he escaped being killed in a hail of bullets after visiting the community minutes before the gunman opened fire.
Reformed Mongrel Mob gangster Darrel Moses, 52, walked away from the mosque after thanking his Muslim friends for a kind gesture on Friday, when a terrorist stormed in killing 50 people and injuring dozens more.
Darrel, who was released from prison four weeks ago after a 13-year sentence for a ‘bad crime’ made friends with the Muslim community after a friend suggested they might be able to help him get his life back on track.
That they did – giving him clothing, a TV, two chairs, a mattress and money for food and basic supplies like washing powder.
Reformed Mongrel Mob gangster Darrel Moses, 52, used to sit and beg outside Al Noor mosque and befriended the Muslim community
He told Daily Mail Australia they had provided him with basic necessities, including clothing, a TV, two chairs, a mattress and money for food and basic supplies like washing powder
Darrel said he had just finished visiting his new friends at the mosque (pictured) when a gunman opened fire on the worshipers moments later
But Darrel, who often sits near their mosque with a sign seeking work, very nearly got killed trying to pay them back.
‘F*** I just walked out of here, brother,’ told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I could have been one of those fellas who died, hey.’
Darrel often sits near the mosque with a sign advertising how he is looking for work. He made friends with the Muslims, and visited them minutes before the shooting.
Everything was normal, he recalled.
‘They were all happy, laughing, having their prayers, talking like normal,’ he said, shaking his head.
Darrel said hello to his new mates, who have told him stories about how they moved to New Zealand from trouble spots around the world, including Afghanistan, because of ‘bombs and stuff going off.’
After a quick visit, Darrel went into town and saw some people he knows who live on the streets.
He decided to go back to the mosque with some bread and milk to repay them for what they had done for him.
Darrel, who was released from prison four weeks ago after a 13-year sentence for a ‘bad crime’ made friends with the Muslim community after a friend suggested they might be able to help him get his life back on track
He had gone into town and decided to repay his Muslim friends for their generosity, but returned to the carnage
‘They did more for me than the Justice Department, believe me!’ he exclaimed.
Instead, he came back to carnage and blocked off streets.
As of Sunday morning, 50 people are dead, including two of Darrel’s friends.
Like everyone else, he’d heard the automatic gun fire, but thought it was something else.
‘We just thought it was a cracker going off,’ he said.
Before the Muslim community had provided him with assistance, Darrel had been resigned to going back to jail, where he almost died twice in stabbings.
The Muslims, who had encouraged him to convert to the religion, built up his spirit. The Maori man says he now feels ‘part Muslim’.
Brenton Tarrant is charged at Christchurch District Court on Sunday
‘They gave me some words of wisdom,’ Darrel said.
‘They said you’re a good man, with a good heart, a handsome man, you can get any woman you want.’
They liked how he had a ‘big heart’ and was always laughing. ‘They like me because I’m a hard care character, I used to always make them laugh.
‘They go, “you like to laugh a lot!” I said, it’s better to laugh than be sad.’
Darrel, a father of two whose daughter is a police officer in Sydney, today laid flowers at the crime scene with his partner.
There is not much laughter in Christchurch now.