Finsbury Park accused was ‘angry about terrorism’

A man accused of carrying out the Finsbury Park attack had “decided to take matters into his own hands” after growing angry at the rise in terrorism, a court has heard.

Darren Osborne, 48, is accused of driving into Makram Ali, 51, and nine other people with a van near two mosques in north London in the early hours of 19 June last year.

At the time, the streets were busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers.

Osborne, of Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, denies the murder of Mr Ali and the attempted murder of “persons at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, London”.

Osborne appeared calm as the prosecution read out its opening statement, speaking only to confirm his name, saying: “that’s my name the last time I checked”.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told Woolwich Crown Court that the “evidence establishes that the defendant was trying to kill as many of the group as possible”.

“In the event, he killed one person – a 51-year-old man called Makram Ali – and in addition, he injured many others, some of them seriously.”

Mr Rees also said that, after the incident some of the men at the scene had tried to prevent Osborne from escaping, pinning him down as he said: “I want to kill more Muslims”.

The prosecutor added that Osborne initially claimed to have lost control of the van, saying he had drunk a couple of pints; but a road-side breath test showed no alcohol in his system.

Forensic teams work at Finsbury Park following the terror attack

Image: Forensic teams working at Finsbury Park after the alleged attack

A key piece of evidence, the prosecution said, is a note allegedly handwritten by Osborne, an unemployed father of four.

Mr Rees described it as showing Osborne’s extreme views and hatred of Muslims.

The note pointed to recent terror attacks at Westminster, Manchester Arena and London Bridge as well as the Rotherham grooming scandal, and accused politicians and celebrities of not doing enough to stop it.

“Where were you in Rotherham Lily Allen, Jeremy Corbyn, nowhere to be seen,” it read.

“Just thinking about how many inbred migrants you could bring into the country.”

Mr Rees told the court: “Against that background, the defendant decided to take matters into his own hands.

“He planned to make a public statement by killing Muslims, knowing that his handwritten note would be recovered by the authorities.”

Mr Rees added: “To seek to kill someone merely because of their religion is a terrible thing.

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“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, who had collapsed as he walked along Seven Sisters Road a couple of minutes before the defendant carried out his attack.”

Osborne’s trial, before a jury and Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, is expected to last for two weeks.