An unemployed father-of-four who drove a van into a group of worshippers outside a mosque, murdering a grandfather, had become obsessed with Muslims after watching a TV drama about the Rochdale grooming gang, a court has heard.
Darren Osborne, 48, crushed Makram Ali, 51, under the wheels of his rented Citroen van and injured nine other men near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in June last year, jurors heard.
Osborne allegedly jumped out of the vehicle and shouted: ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims – I did my bit,’ after attacking worshippers who had recently left night-time prayers.
The court heard he launched the attack days after watching the BBC drama ‘Three Girls’, a dramatisation of the Rochdale grooming scandal.
A rambling letter found in the van’s cab hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, London mayor Sadiq Khan and singer Lily Allen over their responses to Islamist terror attacks and Asian sex gangs, the court heard.
Darren Osborne was said to have carried out a van attack on Muslims in Finsbury Park after becoming incensed about terrorism and the Rotherham sex abuse scandal
Osborne allegedly drove this hired van onto the pavement and into a crowd near the mosque
Osborne had searched for Britain First, who the prosecutor referred to as a ‘far right’ group, as well as Tommy Robinson and Jayda Fransen, the court heard.
His partner Sarah Andrews described Osborne as ‘something of a loner’ and an ‘alcoholic’, it was said.
She also said he had become ‘obsessed with Muslims’ after they watched the BBC drama ‘Three Girls’, documenting the Rochdale grooming gangs, broadcast on 16 May, 2017.
This was said to be the ‘catalyst’ of Osborne’s obsession.
Osborne had written a note shortly before attack decrying terror attacks at the Manchester Arena, Westminster Bridge and London Bridge, as well as the ‘lack of reaction’ from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
He also denounced Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and singer Lilly Allen not condemning the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.
Osborne’s partner said he was a loner and alcoholic who became ‘obsessed with Muslims’
A group of Muslims held Osborne at the scene until police arrived and arrested him at 12.20am outside a cafe near Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told Woolwich Crown Court: ‘To seek to kill merely because of their religion is a terrible thing and what makes this act particularly horrific is that the group he drove into had gathered in the street in order to help Makram Ali, the deceased.’
Makram Ali was killed in the attack
The prosecutor read the contents of the note to the court, saying: ‘Why are there terrorists on our streets today?
‘We have three recent terror attacks where children splattered against the walls of concerts – part and parcel by all accounts according to Sadiq Khan.
‘No it isn’t, how can you let this happen?’
Osborne referred to white British girls being sexually abused as part of the Rotherham scandal, prosecutors say.
The note continues: ‘Where were you in Rotherham, Lilly Allen, Jeremy Corbyn? Nowhere to be seen.’
He goes on to tell Muslims to ‘go back to the desert… and climb back on your camels’.
Osborne signs off the note by saying: ‘Peaceful vigils only and don’t look back in anger. God save the Queen.’
The note was recovered by police from within the van after the attack.
The prosecution claims that the note, which had Osborne’s fingerprints on it, and the comments he made after the attack establish that the attack was an act of terrorism.
Unemployed ‘loner’ was ‘ticking time bomb’ of rage, says his ex
The ex partner of Darren Osborne said he was a ‘ticking time-bomb’ of rage, a court heard.
Sarah Andrews said Osborne made racist comments about all Muslims raping children and being capable of blowing people up after watching the BBC drama Three Girls,
She said that the London Bridge and Manchester Arena terror attacks, which followed soon after, ‘seemed to fuel the rage inside him’.
The court heard a catalyst for the attack was Osborne watching ‘Three Girls’, a BBC drama about the Rochdale grooming scandal
The court heard how devices seized from his Cardiff home showed internet searches for Britain First, the English Defence League and a video, said to be fake, which purportedly showed Muslims celebrating following the Paris terror attack.
It appeared to Ms Andrews that the defendant was becoming brainwashed, and with the benefit of hindsight she described him a ‘ticking time-bomb’, Mr Rees said.
She is said to have referred to her partner as a ‘loner and a functioning alcoholic’ with an ‘unpredictable temperament’.
Mr Rees said Ms Andrews felt their relationship had broken down during the last year to the extent that they did not really speak with each other any more.
She revealed Osborne, who was on medication for anxiety and depression, had threatened to kill himself twice in the weeks leading up to the incident by putting cable ties round his neck, he said.
Unemployed for the last decade, the defendant felt worthless and that he did not fit in, according to his partner.
The day before the attack Osborne announced in a Cardiff pub that he wanted to write to Theresa May, claiming that Labour had ‘gone to the dogs’.
Osborne hired the van in Wales and had driven from Cardiff to London, intending to drive it into the Al Quds Day march through central London organised by the Islamic Human Rights Conmission, the court heard.
The father-of-four had called Pontyclun Van Hire in Mid Glanorgan to enquire about hiring Luton van on Friday 16 June 2017, just three months after Khalid Masood’s Westminster Bridge attack which saw four dead.
The next day Osborne paid £170 for the white van with ‘Pontyclun Van Hire’ marked on the side and attended the Hollybush pub, not far from his home in Pentwyn.
In the pub he falsely claimed to be a soldier in the British Army to Callum Spence, a serving soldier with the Royal Engineers 2-4 Commando, and had told Mr Spence: ‘Your families are all going to be Muslim. I’m going to take it into my own hands’, the court heard.
This was the scene in Finsbury Park following the incident after 12.15am on June 19 last year
Osborne allegedly intended to target the Al Quds Day march the following day which began in Portland Place just after 4pm, before deciding to attack the Seven Sisters site instead.
After the attack, he was heard to say: ‘At least I had a proper go,’ jurors were told.
Mr Ali died from multiple injuries at the scene at 1.04am, while nine men were rushed to hospital – two in a critical condition.
The worshippers had gathered round Mr Ali to administer first aid shortly before the attack when he suffered a suspected heart attack just after midnight.
Osborne, of Cardiff, denies murdering Mr Ali and the attempted murder of people at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, which is close to the mosque.
He was raised in Weston-Super-Mare, but moved to Pentwyn, Cardiff, in 2006. The trial continues.
Rambling message left in the cab of the Finsbury Park attack van
Here is the handwritten note, allegedly written by Darren Osborne, which was read to the jury at Woolwich Crown Court by Jonathan Rees QC.
‘Why are their terrorists on our streets today? Weve had 3 Recent terror attacks, our children splattered against the walls of concerts, part n parcel by all accounts, Mr Sadiq Khan, no it isn’t how you can let this happen, terrorists marching through our capital city, you’re a disgrace where was the public outrage after 1400 of our white british none muslim girls?
‘Where were you in Rotherham Lily allen Jeremy Corby nowhere to be seen, Just thinking about how many more inbred migrants you can bring into the country, the local harbour map of Rotherham mr Hussain wrote of character Reference For one of the rapists in court, really now, hang on a minute am I missing something here, where was you all, Jez lil? don’t you fancy getting involved in that the only protest within the muslim community were when taxi drivers were asked to put cctv in their cars, seriously your taking the piss, mr Hussain has been promoted.
‘Don’t people get it, this is happening up and down our Green and pleasant land, Ferrel inbred raping muslim men hunting in packs preying on our children, this will be coming to a town near you soon, it most probably has, get back to the desert, you raping inbred b******s climb back on ya camels. people don’t be swayed by corbyn his Free packed lunch, uni fees think of your childrens future, islams ideology doesn’t belong here neither does Sharia law.
‘So mr Sadiq Khan how are you this morning? I’d imagine your gonna have a hard job keeping your happy go lucky vibrant city in order, Part n parcel of living in a big city, carry on as normal, bk to ya day Jobs, what about you Jez? mr terrorist sympathiser, or should I call you harold, ‘you dirty old man’ put that in ya pipe, have some sympathy for me, well Folkes gotta go busy day today. Remember peaceful vigils only please dont look back in anger, God Save the Queen’.