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The unemployed ‘loner’ who deliberately drove a van into a group of Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park will be sentenced today after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder.
Darren Osborne, 48, of Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, killed Makram Ali, 51, and injured 12 others in the attack in June 2017.
The father-of-four was intent on spilling as much blood after becoming radicalised by far-right material within just a few weeks.
Osborne, who had denied both charges, nodded and looked around the courtroom as the verdicts were delivered at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday following an eight-day trial.
During the trial Osborne revealed that he had initially planned to kill Jeremy Corbyn.
He hired the van he used for the attack to target the Al Quds march in London, where the Labour Leader was expected to be in attendance.
Referring to the march, Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC asked: ‘Were you hoping that you would have an opportunity to attack Jeremy Corbyn and kill him?’
Osborne replied: ‘Oh yeah’, adding: ‘It would be one less terrorist off our streets.’
During the trial Osborne denied he was the driver of the van involved in the attack – an eleventh hour defence the prosecution dismissed as being conjured “out of thin air”.
He said the perpetrator was a “guy called Dave” who he had met in a pub in Treforest in early April or March last year.
The attacker said he had no idea Dave – one of his two made-up accomplices – intended to smash into a group of pedestrians, and believed they were on their way to a pub to meet a third co-conspirator, Terry.
But jurors agreed with prosecutors who dubbed his increasingly improbable version of events a “total fabrication” and “frankly absurd”.
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The attacker did admit he had initially hoped to “plough through” as many people as possible at the pro-Palestinian Al Quds march in central London.
But after driving a hire van from Cardiff to London on June 18, road closures thwarted the plan.
Instead he travelled across London in hunt of a mosque, eventually ending up in Finsbury Park in Mr Corbyn’s constituency at around midnight.
CCTV footage shows the van circling roads close to the Muslim Welfare House and Finsbury Park mosque, before turning hard left into a crowded pavement at the entrance of Whadcoat Street at 12.16am.
Two minutes earlier Mr Ali had collapsed on the floor after attending evening prayers, just 100 yards from his front door, prompting bystanders to rush to his aid.
Witnesses said he had been conscious and had wanted to go home in the moments before being struck by the van, which killed him almost instantly. Two others were seriously injured.
A note written by Osborne – which complained about terrorism, the Rotherham child sex scandal, and branded Mr Corbyn a “terrorist sympathiser” – was found in the cab of the van.
Osborne, a “total loner”, had become obsessed with Muslims after watching BBC drama Three Girls in May last year and was angered by what he deemed as inaction following a string of UK terror attacks, his estranged partner Sarah Andrews said.
Commenting on the verdict, HOPE not hate’s chief executive, Nick Lowles, said: “This case highlights the pernicious nature and danger of online hate and sadly confirms the threat from right-wing extremism, which we have long warned about.
“But it also highlights the role that far-right figures and right-wing media have played in propelling anti-Muslim hatred into the mainstream.
“We have long argued that the authorities have not properly understood the nature of anti-Muslim extremism and rhetoric and the potential impact it can have on the Darren Osbornes of this world.”