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Man convicted of murder in van attack near London’s Finsbury Park Mosque

A police forensics officer stands by a van used in a June attack near Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

A man who deliberately drove a van into a group of Muslims in June near a mosque in north London has been convicted Thursday of murder and attempted murder.

Darren Osborne, 48, appeared to have been motivated by anger over Islamist terror attacks in 2017 in London and Manchester, England and a child grooming scandal in Rochdale that involved men of Asian origin, Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London was told.

He rented a van in Wales and drove it on June 18 to London, planning to attack people attending a march, said the Crown Prosecution Service in a statement after the verdict.

When that did not prove possible, he drove around the city looking for a mosque, it said.

Just after midnight, he saw a group of Muslims helping 51-year-old Makram Ali, who had collapsed at an intersection. More people were around than usual because it was Ramadan and many Muslims were on their way to or from prayers, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

According to the prosecution, Osborne deliberately drove his vehicle into the group near Finsbury Park Mosque, fatally injuring Ali and trying to kill as many others as he could. Nine others were taken to the hospital with injuries in the attack.

Flowers and tributes lie at a police cordon near the scene of the Finsbury Park attack.

A witness told the court, when Osborne was stopped from fleeing by members of the public, he said “I’ve done my job. You can kill me now.”

In his defense, Osborne claimed a man named “Dave” had been driving the van and was responsible for the attack. But, he was unable to explain why closed-circuit TV showed only one man leaving the van, the prosecution said.

Osborne will be sentenced at a later date.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had prosecuted the case as a terrorist offense because Osborne’s actions were intended to advance a political purpose, expressed in a handwritten note found in the van he used and comments he made to police officers at the scene.

“Darren Osborne planned and carried out this attack because of his hatred of Muslims,” said Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service. “He later invented an unconvincing story to counter the overwhelming weight of evidence, but the jury has convicted him. We have been clear throughout that this was a terrorist attack, and he must now face the consequences of his actions.”

The Muslim Council of Britain welcomed the guilty verdict.

“The scenes we witnessed last summer were the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia yet in our country. We cannot be complacent and regard this as a one-off terrorist incident,” said Secretary-General Harun Khan in a statement. “We heard, during the trial, how Osborne was motivated by anti-Muslim groups and Islamophobic tropes, not only prevalent in far-right circles but also made acceptable in our mainstream.”