Darren Osborne jailed for life for Finsbury Mosque terror attack

Darren Osborne will spend at least 43 years behind bars for last year's Finsbury Mosque terror attack 

The Finsbury Mosque terror attacker, Darren Osborne
The Finsbury Mosque terror attacker, Darren Osborne

A man who drove a van into a crowd of Muslims near a London Mosque last June has been sentenced to life in prison.

Darren Osborne will spend at least 43 years behind bars after the jury took about an hour to unanimously convict him over the premeditated attack in June 2017.

Osborne was sentenced on Friday to concurrent whole life terms for the murder of Makram Ali and the attempted murders of other people, with the minimum term of more than four decades to be served, having being found guilty at Woolwich crown court the day before.

The judge said he attacked innocent people, but his particular choice to target a group wearing traditional Islamic dress reflected his “ideology of hate towards Muslims”.

Justice Cheema-Grubb told Osborne, from Cardiff: "This was a terrorist attack. You intended to kill."

Speaking on behalf of her family outside court, Ali’s daughter Ruzina Akhtar said her father would “always stay in our hearts, his laughter will echo the walls of our home, his smile will be reflected in our eyes, his memories will be alive in our conversations”.

Sentencing Osborne, the judge said he had become “rapidly radicalised over the internet, encountering and consuming material put out … from those determined to spread hatred of Muslims on the basis of their religion” in the weeks prior to the attack.

The court heard that the catalyst for Osborne’s descent was the BBC drama-documentary Three Girls, which focused on the grooming and sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale by British-Pakistani Muslim men.

“Your research and joining Twitter early in June 2017 exposed you to a great deal of extreme racist and anti-Islamic ideology,” Cheema-Grubb said.

Osborne initially offered no defence to the two charges but changed his mind just as the prosecution was due to close its case against him last week.

Taking the stand, he claimed a man named Dave had been at the wheel, despite CCTV showing him alone in the van and only one person leaving it after the attack.

Reacting to the sentencing, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said she hoped Osborne's conviction for a "horrific terrorist attack" would come as "some solace to his family and those injured."

Cdr Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism team, said Osborne had carried out an "evil and cowardly attack".

"I would like to pay tribute to Mr Ali's family and the local community in Finsbury Park, for their tremendous support and understanding with our investigation during what must have been an extremely difficult time for them."