By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - The suspect in last year's terrorist attack targeting Muslim worshippers near a London mosque initially wanted to kill the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, a court heard Tuesday.
In his testimony, Darren Osborne, 48, told the jury that he originally thought of ramming the van into the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) march, which Jeremy Corbyn was expected to attend, but his plans were “thwarted” by “road blocks” in place in central London.
Questioned by the prosecutor about the Corbyn plot, Osborne said if London Mayor Sadiq Khan had been there, “it would have been even better.”
“It would have been like winning the lottery,” he said.
Osborne also claimed that the van he rammed into the Finsbury Mosque worshippers was driven by another person called “Dave,” adding that he did not understand why he left the scene.
However, the Woolwich Crown Court had heard evidence that Osborne had acted alone. Osborne had also admitted that he was alone during a police interview taken in hospital after his medical exam.
“A man jumped out of the van and tried to run away ... The man who jumped out of the van was the driver because I could not see anyone else who came out of the van,” a witness statement read out to the court said.
“I can say for certain that the man who got out of the driver’s side after hitting us all on the road was the same man who the police put in the van,” said another statement confirming Osborne was on his own during and after the attack.
The prosecutor, Jonathan Rees, told the jury he would be introducing evidence addressing whether or not other people were involved and who was driving the van.
Osbourne is accused of ramming his rented van into worshipers in Finsbury Park, North London last June 19 in an Islamophobic attack, killing 51-year-old Makram Ali and injuring many others.