Man who attacked London Muslims imprisoned for over 40 years
LONDON — A man who drove a van into worshippers near a London mosque, killing one man and injuring a dozen others, was sentenced Friday to at least 43 years in prison for what a judge called a crime driven by “malevolent hatred.”
Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb said Darren Osborne’s mind was “poisoned” by far-right ideas before the June 2017 attack targeting Muslims and that he had shown no signs of remorse.
“Your mindset became one of malevolent hatred,” the judge told the prisoner in the dock at Woolwich Crown Court. “This was a terrorist attack. You intended to kill.”
She sentenced Osborne, 48, to life with no chance of parole for 43 years, saying “the court has seen no evidence that the danger you present has lessened.”
“You attempted to kill at least a dozen people and succeeded in taking the life of a peaceful man you knew nothing about and had never met,” the judge said.
A jury convicted Osborne, of Cardiff, Wales, of murder and attempted murder Thursday for the attack in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood.
A 51-year-old man, Makram Ali, was killed and 12 people were injured when Osborne drove a rented van into people leaving evening prayers during Ramadan.
The judge told Osborne that the slain man had “lived his life without enemies — until, unknowingly, he met you.”
Osborne had denied guilt and claimed another man, named Dave, was driving the van when it struck the crowd.
The judge said jurors “saw through your pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them by blaming someone else for your crimes.”
Prosecutors said Osborne was motivated by a hatred of Muslims and been radicalized by far-right and Islamophobic propaganda he found online.
Police were surprised by the speed of his radicalization, which began when he watched a TV docudrama about Pakistani men sexually exploiting young women in northern England. Osborne began searching racist and anti-Muslim material, and a few weeks later, on June 19, he carried out his attack.
It came weeks after the deadly Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks carried out by Islamic radicals.
Bystanders who witnessed the van striking pedestrians caught and restrained Osborne until police arrived. In her sentencing remarks, the judge praised Mohammed Mahmoud, imam of the local mosque, for intervening to stop them from hurting him.
“This was a demonstration of true leadership,” she said, adding: “He chose to respond to evil with good.”
Ali left a wife and six children. Members of his family watched from the public gallery as the sentence was handed down.
His daughter Ruzina Akhtar said in a statement that “his life was taken in a cruel way by a very narrow-minded, heartless being.”
“But we will choose to remember our father with happier thoughts,” she said outside court. “He will never be forgotten, he will 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.”