Finsbury Park: Son of van hire firm owner arrested after controversial 'tank' comment following mosque attack

Police say they have now released Richard Gear Evans without charge

Harriet Agerholm
Wednesday 21 June 2017 12:10
A police forensics officer stands next to a van involved in a terror attack outside Finsbury Park Mosque
A police forensics officer stands next to a van involved in a terror attack outside Finsbury Park Mosque

The son of the vehicle-hire firm boss whose van was used in a terrorist attack in Finsbury Park has been arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred.

Richard Gear Evans was taken into custody after allegedly writing in a Facebook post: “It’s my dad’s company, I don’t get involved. It’s a shame they don’t hire out a steam rollers or tanks, could have done a good job then [sic].”

South Wales Police said he had subsequently been released without charge following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Evans was responding to messages of support following the attack on pedestrians leaving midnight prayers during Ramadan. The comments and account profile appear to have since been deleted.

London residents bring flowers in solidarity with Finsbury Park Mosque after attack

Mr Evans claims to be a freight movements director for logistics company Eddie Stobart.

Police said a 37-year-old man was held on suspicion of displaying threatening, abusive, insulting written material with intent that is likely to stir up racial hatred.

Lee Evans, the father of Richard Evans, who runs Pontyclun Van Hire in the Rhondda Valley said: “I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms these ill-considered ... comments, which in no way reflect my own view or indeed those of anyone else in the family.

”The attack in Finsbury Park was shocking and cowardly. Together with all the staff at Pontyclun Van Hire, I am doing everything I can to assist the Metropolitan Police in their inquiries."

One man died and 11 people were injured when a white van was driven into a crowd of worshippers in north London at around 12.30 on Monday morning.

Police arrested 47-year-old Darren Osborne at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and alleged terror offences.

The Met’s counter terrorism unit has been given an extension until Saturday to question Mr Osborne.

A spokesperson for Eddie Stobart Logistics said: “We can confirm that we are aware of the reprehensible remarks made by Richard Gear Evans on social media.

“These remarks in no way reflect the view of Eddie Stobart Logistics and we have taken immediate action."