What We Know About Darren Osborne, Suspect in London Mosque Attack

Darren Osborne has been identified as a 47-year-old father of four, who was living in Cardiff, Wales.

3 min read
People take part in a vigil at Finsbury Park in north London, where a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London Monday. (Photo: AP)

British media have named the suspect in Monday's mosque attack as 47-year-old Darren Osborne, a father of four who was living in Cardiff, Wales.

British Security Minister Ben Wallace said authorities were aware of rising far-right activity but were not aware of the suspect prior to the attack near a north London mosque.

On Monday, a large white van driven by Osborne rammed into worshippers leaving their local mosque in Finsbury Park after prayers. At least nine people were injured and one was killed in the incident. Police are treating it as a terror attack.

Not much else is known about the suspect at the moment. Osborne’s sister Nicola, speaking to reporters outside a house in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset – where Osborne’s parents likely live – said she was “very sorry for what had happened”, reported The Guardian.

Osborne’s mother said she found out about her son’s arrest from the television. Speaking to ITV News via telephone, she broke down, saying “I just can’t talk about it, I just don’t know.”

Osborne Had Not Lived in Somerset in 10 Years

The street in Somerset where Osborne’s sister spoke was thronged by journalists and reporters all of Monday, reported The Guardian.

Speaking to the British daily, some neighbours said they knew Osborne’s mother but not him personally. Osborne had reportedly not lived on that street in a decade and had a family and children in Cardiff.

Osborne Lived With Partner Sarah Andrews

Osborne reportedly lived in Cardiff with his partner Sarah Andrews, who worked as a chef at a local pub, and his four children. Neighbours said Andrews and him had separated a few months ago and he had been seen screaming at her in the streets, reported The Guardian.

While one neighbour said that Osborne “always seemed aggressive and strange,” adding that the neighbours could often hear him shouting in the street, another said he was “always friendly enough.”

Osborne didn’t seem to know many of his neighbours, most of who report that they knew him only as an acquaintance, and would perhaps exchange pleasantries if they saw each other on the street.

Osborne's Muslim Next-Door Neighbour Allege Racial Abuse

According to The Guardian, Osborne’s Muslim next-door neighbours alleged that Osborne had never usually caused any trouble for their family, but this past weekend he had racially abused their son.

Khadijh Sherazi’s 12-year-old son Nadeem said Osborne had called him ‘in-bred’, a pejorative slang for an offspring produced by inbreeding or by intercourse with close family members.

He, however, added that his tone was not angry or aggressive:

I was on my bike and he just came up to me and said ‘in-bred’. Just out there [on the road]. It was just a normal voice. He just said it.
The Guardian quoted Nadeem as saying

Sherazi expressed shock at reports that Osborne was the prime suspect in the mosque attack, adding that he seemed “happy enough” and that he had not shown “any signs of being racist.”

The family added that Osborne had a large family who visited often. He had reportedly set up a gazebo in the garden and had been seen bringing bottles of vodka, as if he was preparing to host a party.

Meanwhile, Osborne’s nephew, Ellis Osborne released a statement on behalf of the family. He expressed condolences to all the families affected by the incident and asserted that his uncle was “not a racist” and that he had never as much as said anything racist. “Its madness. It is obviously sheer madness,” The Guardian quoted him as saying.

Van Used in Attack Rented in South Wales

The large white van used in the attack was hired from Pontyclun, a company in Pontypridd in South Wales, reported The Telegraph.

A spokesperson of the company however said they are refraining from issuing a statement, as very little is known at the moment.

Forensic officers move the van at Finsbury Park in north London, where a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London. (Photo: AP)
Forensic officers move the van at Finsbury Park in north London, where a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London. (Photo: AP)

Meanwhile, a witness at the site of the attack, 18-year-old Abdul Rashid told The Independent that when people were holding the suspect down he said ‘you can kill me, I’ve done my job’. He reportedly said he had come to ‘kill Muslims.’

Another witness Yann Bouhllissa said he had been tending an old man who had suffered a heart attack when the van was driven at them. The driver was then seized by locals.

Mohammed Mahmoud, the imam from the Muslim Welfare House, stepped in to ensure Osborne was not hurt until he was bundled into a police van.

(With inputs from Reuters and AP.)

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