NewsCrime World

Boston Bomber apologises to victims as he is formally sentenced to death

Apology: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Apology: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologised for the deadly attack for the first time today, just before a judge formally sentenced him to death.

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done, irreparable damage," the 21-year-old college student said, breaking more than two years of public silence.

To the victims, he said: "I pray for your relief, for your healing.

"In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother," he added. 

His five-minute speech included religious references and praise of Allah. He paused several times, looking as if he was trying to remain composed.

He stood and faced the judge while speaking, but spoke of the victims.

The apology came after Tsarnaev listened impassively for about three hours as victims and their loved ones lashed out at him for his "cowardly" and "disgusting" acts.

The US district judge was required under law to impose the jury's death sentence for the attack on April 15 2013 which killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The only real suspense was whether Tsarnaev would say anything when given a chance to speak near the end of the proceedings. Until today, he had said almost nothing publicly since his arrest more than two years ago.

"He can't possibly have had a soul to do such a horrible thing," said Karen Rand McWatters, who lost a leg in the attack and whose best friend, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, was killed.

Ms Campbell's mother, Patricia Campbell, spoke directly to Tsarnaev.

"What you did to my daughter is disgusting," she said. "I don't know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing."