is believed to have undergone a radical change during a backpacking odyssey that included trips to North Korea and Pakistan.
Overnight an extraordinary photograph emerged of Tarrant posing with a tour group visiting the Samjiyon Grand Monument in North Korea’s Ryanggang Province.
In the picture, a smiling Tarrant is seen crouching on one knee, looking like an ordinary tourist.
Tarrant, an Autralian citizen living in Dunedin, made a brief apperance in court this morning flanked by 11 security guards.
He is currently charged with just one count of murder but is expected to face further charges as investigations continue.
There was no application to supress his identity and he was remanded until 5 April.
Tarrant, who hails from Grafton in northern New South Wales, began his horrific massacre at 1.40pm.
Tarrant was pictured in Pakistan as recently as last year, according to photographs and messages posted to social media.
In fact he rhapsodised about the country in a Facebook post, calling it ”an incredible place with the most earnest, kind-hearted and hospitable people in the world”, according to a social media post obtained by Heavy, which obtained a screenshot before it was deleted.
The 28-year-old embarked on the trip sometime between 2011 and 2013 using money he inherited from his father Rodney’s 2010 death at 49 and investments made during the bitcoin gold rush.
“Recently came into contact with a bit of capital due to the passing away of my father,” he posted on a stock forum in 2011.
“Really don’t want to lose the money as he paid for it with 30+ years of his life.”
Tracy Gray, his former boss at the Grafton gym where he worked between 2009 and 2011, said he returned from the trip a changed man.
“He had no specific destination,” Ms Gray old the ABC.
“It was my understanding he was open to see the world, to see as many places as possible. He just wanted to experience different experiences.”
— More to come