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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Finsbury Park mosque attacker sentenced to life in prison

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder, and attempted murder on Thursday after a nine day trial.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, June 19, 2017, forensic officers move the van which struck pedestrians near a Mosque at Finsbury Park in north London.  A Crown Court on Thursday Feb. 1, 2018, found Darren Osborne guilty of murder and attempted murder in the June 2017 attack in the city's Finsbury Park neighborhood. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, FILE)
FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, June 19, 2017, forensic officers move the van which struck pedestrians near a Mosque at Finsbury Park in north London. A Crown Court on Thursday Feb. 1, 2018, found Darren Osborne guilty of murder and attempted murder in the June 2017 attack in the city's Finsbury Park neighborhood. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, FILE)

The man behind a terror attack outside a mosque in London has been sentenced life in prison with a minimum term of 43 years after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder.

Darren Osborne ploughed into a crowd of worshippers in a van outside a mosque in the Finsbury Park area of London in June last year.

The judge referred to his defence, that a man called Dave, was in fact driving the van, as "pathetic".

Following the sentencing, the family of Makram Ali, who was killed in the attack, said “we are very pleased with the guilty verdict”.

“Before our father he left the house that night, he had spent the evening with his family, it was here where he felt most comfortable, he was such a peaceful man, no bad thoughts for anyone. Like most victims of terrorism, he was entirely innocent".

“We cannot imagine the trauma he felt in his last few minutes”.

Mr Osborne, 48, became radicalised over four weeks last year after watching a television programme about a child sex ring scandal involving a gang of mainly Muslim men in northern England.

Mr Osborne, from Cardiff, was convicted of murdering 51-year-old Makram Ali and trying to kill others in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19.

Prosecutors said they were "clear throughout that this was a terrorist attack".

Unemployed "loner" Osborne had pleaded not guilty, telling London's Woolwich Crown Court that a man called "Dave" was driving at the time.

But witnesses recalled Mr Osborne saying: "I've done my job, you can kill me now" and "at least I had a proper go" to members of the public in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The jury of eight women and four men took one hour to convict the father-of-four.

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Mr Osborne had a history of depression and alcohol and drugs problems. At the time of the attack he was living in a tent.

In May, Mr Osborne watched the BBC drama "Three Girls", which told the story of three victims of the Rochdale child abuse ring, and quickly grew angry at what he deemed as inaction over the scandal.

The May 22 Manchester suicide bombing and the June 3 London Bridge van attack and stabbing rampage further fuelled his obsession.

He began researching far-right material online, police said.

Mr Osborne hired a van and drove to London intent on attacking a pro-Palestinian march, but was prevented from doing so by road closures.

He told his trial that he hoped to kill the leftist Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in the attack, as it would have been "one less terrorist off our streets", while killing Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan as well "would have been like winning the lottery".

Mr Osborne then drove around London looking for a target before heading to Finsbury Park, where worshippers were leaving a mosque and an Islamic centre after Ramadan prayers.

A crowd had gathered around Ali, who had collapsed in a sidestreet and, Mr Osborne ploughed into them, killing Ali and injuring 12 others, several of whom suffered broken bones, including two who sustained life-changing injuries.

Crashing into bollards at the end of the street, he tried to escape on foot but was floored by witnesses. A local imam prevented him from being badly beaten up as the crowd surrounded him.

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