The man suspected of having deliberately struck pedestrians near to a north London mosque early Monday morning has been named Darren Osborne, 47, a father of four living in a suburb of the Welsh city of Cardiff.
Osborne is being investigated by police for committing, preparing and instigating an act of terrorism on London Muslims as they observed Ramadan.
Eleven people were injured in the attack, which mimicked similar terror attacks seen in France, Sweden and the UK in recent months.
One person is known to have died, but police say they are unclear if the death is attributable to Osborne’s attack. A man was already receiving medical attention before Osborne mounted the pavement two blocks from Finsbury Park station.
A statement issued by his nephew Ellis, 26, on behalf of the entire family, Osborne was “not racist” and had never expressed any racist views.
“We are massively shocked, it’s unbelievable, it still hasn’t really sunk in,” said the statement. “We are devastated for the families, our hearts go out to the people who have been injured. It’s madness. It is obviously sheer madness.”
Osborne’s mother Christine, 72, told the Sun her son was not a terrorist but was “a man with problems.” His sister Nicola told reporters her brother was not political and “wouldn’t even know who the Prime Minister is.”
During his attack, Osborne allegedly admitted to passers-by detaining him he wanted to “kill all Muslims” moments before police arrived at the scene.
The mother of #FinsburyAttack suspect Darren Osborne has told
itvnews</a> of her shock at learning of her son's arrest <a href="https://t.co/PKXmTdO0QT">pic.twitter.com/PKXmTdO0QT</a></p>— ITV News (itvnews) June 19, 2017
ITV News (@itvnews) June 19, 2017
Speaking to the UK’s ITV News, Mrs. Osborne said she had no idea her son was involved in extremist ideology.
“I’m not going to defend him but it’s my son and it’s a terrible, terrible shock and it’s not just robbing the bank it’s an atrocity,” she said.
UK police said Osborne was not known to them nor was he on any extremist watch list. He is also believed to have acted alone.
Osborne was born in Singapore, but grew up in Weston-super-Mare, not far from the city of Bristol, along the UK’s western coast. He attended Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College.
He has four children and is thought to have separated from his partner Sarah Andrews, 42, in recent months. His family lives in a redbrick terrace and neighbours said they were unsure of what Osborne did to earn a living.
Osborne hired the van he used to carry out his attack from Pontyclun Van Hire. In a statement the company said they were “shocked and saddened” by what had happened and said they were cooperating with the London Metropolitan Police’s investigation.
If only we knew how Darren Osborne was radicalised… pic.twitter.com/PY43SAPRxQ— Russell Simpson 📎 (@russellrsimpson) June 19, 2017
Police will work to piece together what were Osborne’s motivations in carrying out his attack. The incident has sparked speculation Osborne may have been radicalised by far-right ideologies but police say they have no evidence he was an active member of any extremist organisation.
But on Monday afternoon the South Wales National Front, a far-right nationalist political organisation, came to Osborne’s defence.
Adam Lloyd, the group’s Welsh regional organiser, said Osborne’s attack was not a terrorist attack.
“Although we will never condone or accept this kind of violent attacks here in SWNF, anyone with a right mind can see this is not a terrorist attack but a revenge attack by an individual lunatic taking the law into his own hands,” Lloyd said.
Osborne is also thought to have a @DarrenO96801499 Twitter account in which he follows 32 people including Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, two leaders of the “Britain First”: http://www.britainfirst.tv/ far-right group.