The South Wales man who stands accused of murdering one and injuring eight when he purposefully mowed down a group of Muslim worshippers on Monday in London’s Finsbury Park has been formally charged with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder.
Darren Osborne, 47, is an unemployed father of four. He was arrested by Metropolitan Police shortly after he plowed a rented van into a crowd of Muslims outside of the Muslim Welfare House. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Originally from Cardiff, Osborne is accused of murdering Makram Ali, 51, who died at the scene from multiple injuries.
Osborne’s family stated that although he had been “troubled for a long time,” he was “not a racist”. According to his sister, he had recently attempted to kill himself after having dealt with rehabilitation for drug and alcohol problems 20 years ago.
Ali had come to the UK from Bangladesh when he was 10 years old and was well-known around Finsbury Park through his regular attendance at the mosque. He was a father of six and had two grandchildren.
“We are distressed about what happened,” said his family in a statement. “We know that he had some form of collapse because of his weak leg, a condition he suffers from, before recovering, sitting up and expressing a wish to return home only to then become a victim of this horrific incident. An incident made only more tragic as he had only just completed his evening prayers, something he did regularly. He took great comfort in the feelings of peace his prayers provided.”
Of the eight injured, four are still in the hospital; two are in critical condition.
According to a witness named Abdul, Osborne is lucky to be alive to stand trial. “He tried to run away but we brought him down,” recalled Abdul. “He would’ve died because so many people were punching him but the imam came out and said ‘No more punching, let’s keep him down until the police come’.” In court, Osbourne was observed with a bruise around his left eye.
Neil Basu of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said that counter-terror officers have interviewed 28 eye witnesses so far, gone through around 80 hours of CCTV, visited 140 locations and recovered 33 digital devices from properties in Wales.
Osbourne will appear in court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
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