By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) - The man charged over a terrorist attack in London last June meant to kill as many Muslims as possible by plowing into a group of worshippers with a van, crown prosecutors said in court Monday, on the first day of the accused’s trial.
Darren Osbourne, 48, has denied the charges against him, including incitement to murder and terrorism, over the attack outside Finsbury Mosque in north London on June 17, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Osborne “deliberately drove a heavy Luton box van into a group of Muslims who had gathered" near the mosque, Jonathan Rees, a senior lawyer for the prosecution, told the jury at Woolwich Crown Court.
“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 injured many others, some of them seriously,” Rees added.
The court heard that Osbourne hired a van in Wales and had driven from Cardiff to London a day before the attack “looking for a target”. He had initially intended to attack the al-Quds March for Palestine but changed his mind and decided to attack the mosque in Finsbury Park, according to prosecutors.
Osbourne also wrote a note -- discovered in the van used in the assault -- discussing his motivation for the attack. It mentioned the terror attacks that occurred in previous months in London and Manchester.
As well as taunting London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Labour Party leader, the note stated that “Islam’s ideology does not belong here”.
Regarding the murder Ali, Rees stated: “The evidence shows that, although unwell, Mr. Ali was alive just before the incident and his death resulted from the defendant driving the heavy van over him as he lay on the roadway.”
“To seek to kill someone merely because of their religion is a terrible thing."
Rees added: “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.”