As it happenedended1517331611

Finsbury Park terror trial - as it happened: Suspect wanted to kill Jeremy Corbyn at pro-Palestinian march, court hears

Father-of-four, 48, denies charges of murder and attempted murder

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 30 January 2018 11:31

The alleged Finsbury Park attacker has claimed he was not driving the van as it hit Muslim worshippers.

Darren Osborne told Woolwich Crown Court a man called Dave had jumped into the moving vehicle and unexpectedly ploughed it into victims while he was changing his trousers in the footwell.

The defendant claimed he, Dave and another man called Terry Jones, originally planned to attack a Muslim politician in Rochdale, and then a pro-Palestinian march in the hope of killing Jeremy Corbyn and protesters.

Mr Osborne could not explain how Dave disappeared afterwards and was not seen by dozens of witnesses.

He had told counter-terror police he was "flying solo" in interview shortly after attack, the court heard.

The father-of-four denies charges of murder and attempted murder after allegedly ramming a van into Muslim worshippers shortly after midnight on 19 June.

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Police told the jury CCTV shows only Mr Osborne inside the van and body camera footage taken shortly after his arrest shows him telling an officer that he was driving.

In an urgent safety interview conducted later in hospital, he allegedly told a counter-terrorism there was no one else involved, adding: "I'm flying solo, mate."

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC yesterday presented CCTV showing the movements of Mr Osborne driving around the area in the minutes before the attack.

Deemed by prosecutors to be an act of terrorism, it killed one man and seriously injured nine others, including a victim who was left trapped under the van.

Mr Rees said the new evidence was “directed at the issue of whether Mr Osborne, the defendant, acted together with other persons, specifically a man called Dave and a man called Terry Jones”.

The jury was played a series of CCTV footage clips showing the van used in the attack driving around Finsbury Park in the 10 minutes before the attack.

At one point it is seen parked while Mr Osborne, 48, buys a drink and returns, and there is a four-second gap in the coverage between cameras shortly afterwards.

Another clip shows the view of the attack from the other side of a fence that formed a dead end.

“One of the issues being considered is how many people got out of the van after the incident occurs,” Mr Rees said.

The van is seen crashing into bollards, with a single figure getting out of the driver’s door, stumbling and running off camera pursued by three people.

DC Hazel Londt, of the Metropolitan Police, told the court she had reviewed footage for eight hours and did not see anyone else inside the van.

Asked whether there was any evidence of anyone apart from Mr Osborne entering or leaving the vehicle, she replied: “No.”

Survivors of the attack previously told the court they saw only one person in the van and apprehended Mr Osborne after he allegedly attempted to flee, pinning him to the ground before police arrived.

“I’ve done my job, you can kill me now,” he allegedly told them, while smiling.

Experts concluded the van had been “intentionally steered” into a group of Muslims who had left Ramadan prayers at two nearby mosques.

They were clustered around 51-year-old Makram Ali, who had collapsed, and were waiting for an ambulance when the van struck.

A pathologist told the jury Mr Ali had not suffered a heart attack and died of “catastrophic” injuries caused by being run over.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Osborne deliberately targeted Muslims after becoming “brainwashed” in the wake of watching a television drama on the Rotherham grooming scandal and reading far-right posts.

The defendant allegedly drove from his home in Cardiff to target a pro-Palestinian march in London on 18 June but found surrounding roads closed by police and started searching for mosques in London.

Bar staff from a pub where Mr Osborne drank on the night before the attack told them he ranted about Muslims, grooming gangs, the Labour party and other topics before being told to leave.

Similar themes were addressed in a handwritten note found inside the van, which also hit out at figures including singer Lily Allen, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

The trial continues.

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Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the Finsbury Park attack trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

Lawyers are expected to start making their case in the defence of Darren Osborne, who denies charges of murder and attempted murder over the van ramming on 19 June.

Here is a summary of what the court heard yesterday:

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 08:26
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The start of today's hearing has been delayed and the press and public have not yet been allowed in the court.

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 10:43
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We are now in the court and the jury has come in.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC says they will be presented with more evidence "directed to the issue of whether the defendant was acting with others...and who was driving the van"

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:02
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DS Kevin Martin has been called to the stand to take the jury through body-worn camera footage taken by one of the first officers at the scene of the attack.

It shows Mr Osborne telling the officer: "I lost control of the van."

Asked whether he was driving, he replies: "Yeah."

Asked whether he had been drinking, he said: "No...I've had a couple of pints."

No trace of alcohol was found by a breath test.

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:04
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The court is being read witness statements from the scene of the crash.

One man, Ibrahim, described how he saw the attack, decribing people "scattered" in the road.

"The van came to  stop because the road was blocked...suddenly a man jumped out of the van and tried to run off, he was stopped by the people."

He added: "The man who jumped out of the van was the driver because I did not see anyone else who came out of the van."

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:09
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The jury is now being read another statement from a victim who was a friend of Makram Ali's, who he remembered as a "good, honourable man".

Abdul was helping Mr Ali after he collapsed when he got hit from behind by the van: "I saw a white male get out of the cab of the van - the driver's seat."

He describes his panic to find his 13-year-old son, who was not injured, adding: "The white male got out of the van and then started to run towards the gated area away from Seven Sisters Road...he did not get far as there was a gate and fence and people were able to apprehend him."

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:17
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Abdul says he heard the driver shout "I will kill all Muslims" two or three times, as he saw his friend's body in the road.

He adds: "I can say for certain that the man who got out of the driver's side after hitting us all in the road was the same person the police put in the back of the van...I can be sure he was the driver."

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:19
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The court is now being read excerpts from a safety interview conducted with Mr Osborne by counter-terror police while he was in University College London Hospital.

Detective Paul Dring asks the defendant if there was anyone else involved and he replies: "No."

When asked if he knew anything that could harm anyone, he replied: "No, I'm flying solo, mate."

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:27
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The jury is hearing further evidence from a Metropolitan Police financial investigator, which was obtained after a statement from the defence was served last week.

He found evidence of direct debits to communications providers dating back around a year but "no obvious purchase" of a new mobile phone before the attack.

He could find "no obvious payments to a Dave or David, Terry or Terrence Jones."

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:30
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The court is now being adjourned for an hour and is due to resume at 12.30.

Lizzie Dearden30 January 2018 11:31