Finsbury Park trial: Murder accused blames ‘vanishing man’ for death

PUBLISHED: 17:06 31 January 2018

Darren Osborne in the witness box with defence barrister Lisa Wilding QC (right) at Woolwich Crown Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Darren Osborne in the witness box with defence barrister Lisa Wilding QC (right) at Woolwich Crown Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

A former Weston man has told jurors killing Jeremy Corbyn and London mayor Sadiq Khan would have been ‘like winning the lottery’.

Darren Osborne is accused of murdering 51-year-old Makram Ali last summer by driving a van at Muslim worshippers who were on the pavement outside a mosque in Finsbury Park.

However, he says an acquaintance called Dave was driving but ‘vanished’ before police arrived on the scene.

Osborne said today: “He’s like Dynamo, an illusion. An illusionist.

“He can make himself vanish perhaps. I don’t know.”

When he took the stand on Tuesday Osborne admitted he had colluded on plans to ‘plough through as many people as possible’ at a pro-Palestinian march in central London on June 18 – the day before the mosque death.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn was expected to attend the march through the capital and Osborne said the politician was a target.

The 48-year-old said: “It would be one less terrorist off our streets.

“If Sadiq Khan had been there it would have been even better.

“It would have been like winning the lottery.”

Osborne said he formulated the plans with acquaintances Terry Jones and Dave and the trio wanted to form a Welsh far-right group known as the Taffia.

The protest attack was ‘thwarted’ but instead they agreed to ‘regroup’ later that night.

Osborne said: “I was up for an attack that day but when we got to Finsbury Park I was just so exhausted, I sort of lost my nerve.”

He told the court Dave was driving the van when the worshippers were hit, but could not say at what point he had swapped into the driver’s seat.

He said he did not know Dave was planning to carry out a ‘spontaneous’ attack.

The defendant said all he could remember was peering out of the van before the moment of impact, which he said ‘sort of reminded me of Hungry Hippos’.

Osborne agreed with Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, it was ‘remarkable’ Dave had been able to flee while Osborne was arrested at the scene.

Osborne had not initially entered a defence statement, but chose to as the prosecution case drew to a close on Friday.

Asked why, he said: “I felt I had to tell the truth.”

Prosecution witnesses said there is no CCTV evidence anyone other than Osborne was in the van at the time of the crash.

Osborne, who now lives in Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, denies charges of murder and attempted murder.

The trial at Woolwich Crown Court continues.

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