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Finsbury Park trial: Accused found guilty

INCIDENT: The scene at
the Finsbury Park mosque (Photo by: Getty Images)
INCIDENT: The scene at the Finsbury Park mosque (Photo by: Getty Images)

A British man who was “obsessed” with Muslims was found guilty on Thursday (1) of murder and attempted murder after deliberately driving into a group of people outside a London mosque.

Jurors found Darren Osborne, 48, from the Welsh capital Cardiff, guilty of murdering 51-year-old Makram Ali and trying to kill others in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, in a case that was prosecuted as an act of terrorism.

Osborne had claimed in court on Tuesday (30) a “guy called Dave” was to blame and
was driving the van.

He further stated the original target of the attack was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who they planned to kill at an Islamic march they knew he would be attending.

Osborne added: “If Sadiq Khan would have been there it would have been even better, like winning the lottery”.

Osborne is accused of murdering Makram Ali, 51, and the attempted murder of other worshippers as they left a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London after late-night Ramadan prayers.

Makram Ali, 51, was killed last summer after the van attack at a mosque in Finsbury Park

The father of four told the court he had also planned the attack with another man called Terry Jones. He alleged the three had originally planned to kill Rochdale Labour councillor Aftab Hussain, who he claimed had associations with a member of a grooming gang.

He told jurors: “We just wanted more casualties.”

In relation to the crime, Osborne said he recalled looking out of the window before the impact of the collision and it reminded him of “[children’s game] Hungry Hippos”.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC claimed Terry Jones and Dave were fabricated so Osborne could deflect responsibility for the attack.

Last week, the court heard Osborne was motivated by deadly Islamist attacks in Britain and was obsessed with BBC drama Three Girls which told the story of Muslim men who targeted white girls.

It was also heard that two days before the attack, Osborne told a serving soldier in a pub in Cardiff: “I’m going to kill all the Muslims”, the jurors were told.

Osborne’s former partner Sarah Andrews also apparently described the father of four as a loner and a functioning alcoholic with an unpredictable temperament who took medication for depression.

In court, Rees read out a handwritten note found in the van with Osborne’s fingerprints on it.

It complained about “terrorists on our streets” and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, a separate scandal not featured in the television drama.

“Don’t people get it? This is happening up and down our green and pleasant land,” Rees said, reading the note, which contained derogatory statements aimed at Muslims.

“Islam’s ideology doesn’t belong here and neither does sharia law.”

Rees told the jury Osborne seemed to feel that “insufficient was being said or done to counter terrorism and the grooming gangs.

“He planned to make a public statement by killing Muslims.”

Osborne is due to be sentenced at a later date.