Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Man who drove van into Muslims in London convicted of murder

Published:Friday | February 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
In this file photo dated Monday, June 19, 2017, forensic officers move the van which struck pedestrians near a Mosque at Finsbury Park in north London.

LONDON (AP):

A man who steeped himself in far-right, anti-Muslim ideas before driving a van into a crowd of worshippers near a north London mosque was convicted yesterday of murder and attempted murder.

A jury at London's Woolwich Crown Court deliberated for just an hour before finding 48-year-old Darren Osborne guilty of the June 2017 attack in the city's Finsbury Park neighborhood.

A 51-year-old man, Makram Ali, was killed and 15 people were injured when a rented van plowed into worshippers gathering after evening prayers during Ramadan.

Prosecutors said Osborne was motivated by extreme Islamophobia and saw Muslims as extremists or rapists in paedophile gangs.

Several men who witnessed the attack pinned Osborne to the ground until police arrived. He was heard to say, "I want to kill more Muslims," prosecutor Jonathan Rees told the jury during the 10-day trial.

Another witness reported Osborne saying, "I've done my job, you can kill me now."

Osborne, of Cardiff, Wales, had pleaded not guilty. He claimed a man named Dave was driving the van when it struck the crowd. Prosecutors argued that Dave did not exist, and no witnesses or video evidence were produced to indicate a second person in the van.

Prosecutors said Osborne was radicalised over just a few weeks, in part through online far-right propaganda. Searches for prominent extreme-right figures including English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson and Britain First leader Paul Golding were found on his computer.

Osborne's partner, Sarah Andrews, told prosecutors he had become "brainwashed" and was a "ticking time bomb".

Prosecutors said they classified the crime as terrorism because Osborne acted to advance a political purpose.