The van driver who tried to kill Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park was “brainwashed” against Islam after he watched the BBC’s ‘Three Girls’ show, prosecution says.
Darren Osborne, of Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, deliberately mowed down Makram Ali, 51, and nine other people on a crowded pavement in north London shortly after 12.15am on 19 June last year.
The 48-year-old had become obsessed with Muslims in the weeks before the attack after watching BBC programme Three Girls, based on the testimonies from victims of the Rochdale grooming gangs, the jury at Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said the “act of extreme violence” was considered by the prosecution to be a terrorist attack.
Osborne, who is said to have accused all Muslims of being rapists and belonging to paedophile gangs, was described by his partner as a “total loner” who would binge drink to “get blotto and forget everything”.
Describing Osborne’s response to watching the BBC drama, his partner of 20 years, Sarah Andrews, said in a statement read to the court: “He seemed brainwashed and totally obsessed with the subject.
“He has been openly saying a lot of racist things and tarring all Muslims with the same brush.”
In the statement she added that she had noticed him reading posts on Twitter by the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
She said: “I think he was a ticking time bomb. I should have realised what was going on and I feel so bad that I did not see it, so that I could have done something to stop it.”
She added that one of their daughters had been “too scared” to bring her Muslim friends home because of the way he was acting.
Opening the trial on Monday, Mr Rees said Osborne “was trying to kill as many of the group as possible” as he drove a van into worshippers who had attended Ramadan night prayers near two mosques in Finsbury Park.
Mr Ali died following the attack and many others were left injured, some seriously, the court heard.
Bystanders had rushed to the aid of Mr Ali moments earlier after he collapsed, but witnesses said he was conscious before being struck, the court heard.
Mr Ali’s family were in court as CCTV footage was played to the jury, showing him collapsing shortly before a van drives in the group who had flocked to his aid.
A number of men tried to prevent the driver’s escape and kept him pinned to the ground as he was heard to say, “I want to kill more Muslims”, Mr Rees said.
Another man in the group remembered the defendant – who was “constantly smiling” – saying: “I’ve done my job, you can kill me now”, he said.
The trial continues this week.