By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – A man has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder by the British crown court Thursday after driving his van into a crowd outside an Islamic center in north London.
Darren Osborne, 48, killed a Muslim worshipper and injured 11 others last June when he plowed a van into a group of people after they left Ramadan prayers at the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park
The jury at Woolwich Crown Court concluded that he intended to kill as many Muslims as possible and had been “brainwashed” by extremist rightwing propaganda online.
Prosecutors have asked the court to consider the Finsbury Park case as an act of terrorism, when sentencing Osborne on Friday.
Prime Minister Theresa May had described the attack as “sickening” and “insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life”.
The attack came following three major terror attacks that killed tens of people in Manchester and London.
The court heard during the trial that Osborne initially intended to drive the van into a Palestinian march in central London, where he hoped opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was.
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”.
- 'Ticking timebomb'
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 at the hospital after his medical exam.
The jury was told by the prosecution that Osborne's act was terrorism driven by his hatred of Muslims.
Sarah Andrews, Orborne’s partner told police detectives that his attitude had dramatically changed weeks before the attack after watching the Three Girls, a BBC TV drama about a grooming scandal.
Describing Osborne a "ticking timebomb”, she said in a witness statement that he had become “obsessed” with Muslims and became a follower of far-right figures such as former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson and fringe far-right group Britain First’s members.
The jury heard that after the attack, Osborne was saved by an imam, who protected him despite his attempt to run down Muslims. Osborne, seen smiling, apparently said: “I’ve done my bit.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomed the conviction of Darren Osborne.
“The scenes we witnessed last summer were the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia yet in our country,” Harun Khan, secretary general of the council said in a statement posted on Twitter shortly after conviction.
“We cannot be complacent and regard this as a one-off incident,” Khan said.
“We heard during the trial how Osborne was motivated by anti-Muslim groups and Islamophobic tropes not only prevalent in far-right circles, but also made acceptable in our mainstream,” Khan added.