Tuesday 12 December 2017

Everything you need to know about the Finsbury Park attack

Darren Osborne, a father-of-four from Cardiff, has been identified as the suspect held by police after pedestrians were targeted by a man driving a van.

By Georgia Humphreys

A man held by police over the Finsbury Park attack has been identified as 47-year-old Darren Osborne.

Osborne was arrested after pedestrians were targeted by a man driving a van near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.

Here’s everything we know about the attack so far.

How did the attack unfold?

The incident occurred in Seven Sisters Road, north London, at around 12.20am.

Scotland Yard said the attack unfolded while a man who had taken ill was receiving first aid from the public. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.04am.

A spokesman said police investigations are “continuing to establish whether there is any link between his death and the attack” adding: “The man suspected of driving the van was detained by members of the public at the scene.”

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The London Ambulance Service took nine people to three London hospitals. Two others were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but Scotland Yard said he was later arrested for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder.

Security Minister Ben Wallace confirmed the suspect was not known to the security services.

Scotland Yard said detectives currently believe the attacker “acted alone but we are of course investigating all the circumstances leading up to the attack”.

What have witnesses said?

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The area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at Finsbury Park mosque.

Witnesses said the suspect was shouting “I’m going to kill Muslims”, and was waving and smiling after he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road.

Meanwhile, imam Mohammed Mahmoud was hailed for his efforts to prevent a mob attack and calm the situation before police arrived in shielding the suspected terrorist from the fury of onlookers.

He said: “By God’s grace we managed to surround him and protect him from any harm.

“We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle.”

What do we know about Osborne?

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The 47-year-old is believed to be a father-of-four from Cardiff. According to reports, he is originally from Somerset.

In a statement on behalf of the family, Osborne’s nephew said: “We are massively shocked; it’s unbelievable, it still hasn’t really sunk in.

“We are devastated for the families, our hearts go out to the people who have been injured.”

Osborne added his uncle was “not a racist” and said he had never expressed any racist views.

He added: “It’s madness. It is obviously sheer madness.”

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In a telephone interview with ITV News, Osborne’s mother described him as a “complex” person but said “that’s all I can say”.

The woman, who is not being named, broke down in tears.

She said: “It’s a terrible, terrible shock.”

How was Osborne identified?

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Police searched a residential address in Pentwyn, where Osborne is listed as living, in connection with the attack.

Five residents identified images of the man being arrested as their neighbour Darren Osborne.

Neighbour Khadijeh Sherizi said: “I saw him on the news and I thought ‘oh my God, that is my neighbour’.

“He has been so normal. He was in his kitchen yesterday afternoon singing with his kids.

“He was the dad of the family. He has kids. He lives next door. He seemed polite and pleasant to me.

“I just can’t believe it.”

What has the reaction been?

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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it is being “treated as a terrorist incident” adding: “The investigation is ongoing and we are working fast to know the full details of how and why this took place.

“All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan.”

Earlier, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims” and that “we treat this as a terrorist attack”.

She said: “Sadly we have suffered a number of attacks and very sad events over the last few weeks.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the incident as “every bit as sickening” as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester.

Flowers have been laid near the scene of the attack, with one card reading: “This is an attack on all Londoners – and on my community.”

Another read: “I was so sorry to hear the news this morning. #NotInMyName.”

Press Association

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