Finsbury Park trial: Ex-Weston man found guilty of murder
- Credit: PA
A former Weston man has been found guilty of murdering a Muslim worshipper by driving a van at a crowded street of pedestrians in London.
Darren Osborne was this afternoon (Thursday) convicted of killing Makram Ali, injuring 12 others in the process.
A jury of eight women and four men took one hour to convict Osborne, who was seen smiling and blowing a kiss to angry bystanders in the moments after the terror attack, of murder and attempted murder.
Osborne, who had denied both charges, nodded and looked around the courtroom as the verdicts were delivered at Woolwich Crown Court.
Part way through his trial, the father of four from Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff suddenly denied he had been driving the van at the moment of impact - an eleventh-hour defence the prosecution dismissed as being conjured ‘out of thin air’.
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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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During the nine-day trial Osborne told the court he had wanted to kill senior Labour figures including leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The attacker admitted he had initially hoped to ‘plough through’ as many people as possible at the pro-Palestinian Al Quds march in central London, previously attended by Mr Corbyn.
But after driving a hire van from Cardiff to London on June 18, road closures thwarted Osborne’s 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 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.
Police believe these feelings were further fuelled by far-right material, with devices found at Osborne’s family home revealing multiple searches for English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson and Britain First’s Jayda Fransen.
Within a month Osborne, who had never previously expressed racist tendencies, had become radicalised and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Despite Osborne’s assertion that Dave had been driving and he had been changing his trousers in the passenger seat footwell at the time, only one figure was seen leaving the vehicle after the collision.
* Copy supplied by Press Association.