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Man who carried out terrorist attack in Finsbury Park jailed for life

News   •   Feb 02, 2018 13:42 GMT

Image: Darren Osborne

The man who carried out an attack in Finsbury Park which killed one man and injured several others, has been sentenced to life imprisonment today - Friday, 2 February.

Darren Osborne, 48 (30.11.69) of Cardiff, was yesterday convicted of the murder of 51-year-old Makram Ali and the attempted murder of several others on 19 June, 2017, following a nine-day trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

The presiding judge told the court that Osborne's actions were a terrorist act, as defined by section 30 of the Terrorism Act 2008. As such, Osborne was subject to a higher sentencing tariff and must serve a minimum or 43 years before being considered for parole.

The judge commended a detective sergeant on the investigation for his work and an imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, for his actions calming a crowd at the site of the incident following the attack.

Commander Dean Haydon, Head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "I welcome the judge's decision to sentence Osborne under the Terrorism Act, which reflects the gravity of his actions."

"Osborne's evil and cowardly attack meant a family has tragically lost a husband, father and grandfather. There were also 12 others, who, having gone to Mr Ali's aid, sustained various injuries from the collision. Some of those injured have still not fully recovered and could suffer from health issues for the rest of their lives.

"I would like to pay tribute to Mr Ali's family and the local community in Finsbury Park, for their tremendous support and understanding with our investigation during what must have been an extremely difficult time for them.

"From the very outset, this investigation has had the full weight of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command behind it and I hope today's outcome means those affected can start to think about putting this terrible ordeal behind them."

At 00:16hrs on 19 June 2017, Osborne drove a hired Citroen Luton van into a group of people who were gathered on Seven Sisters Road near to the junction with Whadcoat Street. The group were attending Makram Ali, who, moments earlier, had collapsed on the ground, having just left a prayer meeting at the nearby Muslim Welfare House.

Osborne, heading northbound on Seven Sisters Road, swerved into the group hitting a number of people, including Mr Ali, who was still laying on the ground. Mr Ali sustained multiple injuries from the collision and died as result of these injuries. Twelve others were also injured in the attack, with several suffering serious fractures including leg, arm, skull and pelvic fractures.

Following the collision, Osborne crashed his vehicle into bollards in Whadcoat Street and he was detained by members of the public as he attempted to flee from the scene, before police arrived a short while later, and arrested him.

On his arrest, officers found various items in the van, including a hand-written note from Osborne containing a monologue of his extremist views.

An investigation was immediately launched by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command and Osborne was charged four days later on 23, June 2017.

During the course of their investigation, officers found that Osborne hired the van from a vehicle hire company in Pontyclun, Wales on the morning of 17 June 2017. Later that day, he attended a pub in Cardiff, where he was seen on the CCTV footage writing the letter that was found in the van after the attack.

Through their enquiries officers believe that Osborne drove from Cardiff to London on 18 June 2017 with the intention of targeting the 'Al Quds' march, where he thought a large number of Muslim people would be present.

However, after arriving in London, Osborne was unable to access the march route with his vehicle. Officers managed to track down a taxi driver who confirmed that Osborne had asked him for directions to Grosvenor Square - the location of the end of the march - but that he'd told him it was closed off to traffic.

At this point, it is believed that Osborne decided to change his plans and after driving to south London, where he asked for directions to mosques, he eventually ended up in Finsbury Park. Just before midnight, Osborne is seen to arrive in Finsbury Park, where he initially parks up and then carries out what is effectively reconnaissance of the local area, before returning to his van. Approximately 20 minutes later, at 00:16hrs, he carried out the attack.

Commander Dean Haydon, said: "From our investigation, it was clear that Osborne had planned to come to London with the intention of carrying out an attack against the Muslim community.

"Only he will know, but if Osborne's aim was to create divisions and hate between communities, then from what I have seen, he has failed in that respect. The way that the local community in Finsbury Park - of all faiths and backgrounds - came together was astounding and this reaction was the same across London and the UK.

"I must also praise those who initially detained Osborne immediately after the attack - in particular the local Imam, who ensured that Osborne didn't come to any significant harm whilst waiting for officers to arrive at the scene. Again, this response and the overwhelmingly positive reaction my officers and teams have witnessed since, just further highlights how far from reality Osborne's sick and twisted views really are."

Family statement read out by Mr Ali's eldest daughter Ruzina Akhtar outside Woolwich Crown Court on 2 February:

"The last few months have been very hard for our family as we have tried to adjust to life without our father. It was particularly hard for us to have to sit in court and listen to Darren Osborne deny he had done anything wrong. So we are very pleased with the guilty verdict.

"We'd first of all like to thank our barristers, the detectives and the police for all the work they have done to secure the verdict. We'd also like to thank our liaison officers who have been by our side throughout.

"Before our father left the house that night he had spent the evening with his family, it was here he felt most comfortable. He was such a peaceful and simple man, he had no bad thoughts for anyone.

"Our father, like the victims of most terrorism, was entirely innocent which makes his death in this violent way all the more hurtful and we cannot imagine the trauma he felt in the last few minutes.

"But we will choose to remember our father with happier thoughts. He will never be forgotten, he will always stay in our hearts, his laughter will echo the walls of our home, his smile will be reflected in our eyes, his memories will be alive in our conversations.

"We'd like to thank the witnesses who helped the case, family and friends who attended court and the community for the support we received.

"We'd also like to thank the press for respecting our privacy and would ask them to continue to do so, so we can try to move on with our lives as best we can. Thank you."