Saturday 16 December 2017

Suspected terrorist in mosque attack horror named as dad-of-four

The man being held by police over the Finsbury Park attack
The man being held by police over the Finsbury Park attack

A man held by police over the Finsbury Park attack has been identified as 47-year-old father-of-four Darren Osborne.

Osborne, from Cardiff, was arrested after pedestrians were targeted by a man driving a van near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early yesterday.

Witnesses described hearing the van driver, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I'm going to kill Muslims."

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but Scotland Yard said he was later arrested for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder.

Residents near Cardiff were "shocked" after seeing photographs of their neighbour being arrested in London. Police are searching a residential address in Pentwyn, where Osborne is listed as living, in connection with the attack.


Five residents identified images of the man being arrested as their neighbour, Osborne, who according to reports is originally from Somerset.

One of Osborne's neighbours, taxi driver Saleem Naema (50), said: "I can't believe it. I know him. I've lived here for five years, he was already living here when I moved in.

"If I ever needed anything he would come. I just can't believe that he did that. I am a Muslim."

Khadijeh Sherizi, who lives next door to Osborne, said: "I saw him on the news and I thought 'Oh my God' that is my neighbour.

"He has been so normal. He was in his kitchen yesterday afternoon singing with his kids. He was the dad of the family. He seemed polite and pleasant to me. I just can't believe it."

Police said the attack happened while a man, who later died, was receiving first aid after being taken ill in Seven Sisters Road. It is not clear if there is a link between his death and the attack.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "This is being treated as a terrorist incident and is being investigated by the counter-terrorism command. The investigation is ongoing and we are working fast to know the full details of how and why this took place.

"All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan."

The attacker, who is thought to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

Eight people were taken to hospital, with one since discharged, while two others were treated at the scene.

Earlier, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the incident was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims".

"Sadly we have suffered a number of attacks and very sad events over the last few weeks," she added.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said the suspect was not known to the security services.

"What I can say on this case is this individual, so far as we know at the moment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right," he said.

British prime minister Theresa May condemned the incident as "every bit as sickening" as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester.


Witnesses said the suspect was smiling and waving as he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road, with video posted online showing him give a nonchalant wave as police put him in the back of their vehicle.

Imam Mohammed Mahmoud was hailed for his efforts to calm the chaotic situation before police arrived and was said to have used his body to shield the suspected terrorist from the fury of onlookers.

Images of the van showed it was rented from a company near Cardiff.

Flowers have been laid near the scene, one card reading: "This is an attack on all Londoners - and on my community.''

Another read: "I was so sorry to hear the news this morning. #NotInMyName''.

A 30-year-old male neighbour of Osborne said Osborne previously moved out of the address but had been living back with his partner and children there for a "couple of months".

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