LONDON — A man accused of driving a van into worshippers near London’s Finsbury Park Mosque became convinced that all Muslims were extremists or rapists in pedophile gangs, a prosecutor said Monday.
Darren Osborne, 48, is accused of driving into a crowd of worshippers attending Ramadan prayers in June. A 51-year-old man, Makram Ali, was killed and nine people were injured in the attack.
Osborne, of Cardiff, Wales, denies charges of murder and attempted murder.
On the first day of Osborne’s murder trial, prosecutor Jonathan Rees said the “act of extreme violence” was intended to kill as many people as possible. He said prosecutors considered it a terrorist attack.
Osborne was pinned to the ground by several men until police arrived, and was heard to say “I want to kill more Muslims,” Rees said.
He said a handwritten note was found in the cab of the van within hours of the June 19 attack, complaining of terrorists and referring to a case in which several Muslim men were convicted of sexually exploiting women and girls in the northern England town of Rotherham. Osborne had watched a TV drama about a similar case shortly before the attack.
Osborne’s partner, Sarah Andrews, said he had become “brainwashed” and was a “ticking time bomb,” the prosecutor said.
In a statement read to jurors at Woolwich Crown Court in London, Andrews said Osborne had been “openly saying a lot of racist things and tarring all Muslims with the same brush.”
“I should have realized 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 said.