Man accused of van attack on Muslims wrote about Rotherham child sex abuse scandal in letter

A man accused of trying to kill as many Muslims 'as possible' outside a London mosque referred to the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal in a letter found on the day of his alleged attack.

Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 5:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 6:05 am
Makram Ali died in a collision with a van

Darren Osborne is accused of deliberately driving into worshippers near a mosque - killing one man and injuring nine others.

He is said to have become 'brainwashed' after watching a television drama about the Rochdale grooming sex scandal, a court has heard.

A handwritten note in the cab of a van he hired complained about terrorists on the streets and referred to the Rotherham child exploitation scandal, which involved the abuse of 1,400 children by men of predominantly Pakistani heritage over a 16 year period.

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The letter read: "This is happening up and down our green and pleasant land. Feral inbred, raping Muslim men, hunting in packs, preying on our children."

Osborne is accused of deliberately mowing down Makram Ali, 51, and nine other people on a crowded pavement in north London shortly after 12.15am on June 19 last year.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said the 'act of extreme violence' was considered by the prosecution to be a terrorist attack.

He said the 48-year-old had become obsessed with Muslims in the weeks before the attack after watching BBC programme Three Girls, based on testimony from victims of the Rochdale grooming gangs.

Osborne is said to have accused all Muslims of being rapists and belonging to paedophile gangs.

Describing Osborne's response to watching the BBC drama, his partner of 20 years Sarah Andrews said in a statement read to the court: "He seemed brainwashed and totally obsessed with the subject.

"He has been openly saying a lot of racist things and tarring all Muslims with the same brush."

In the statement she added that she had noticed him reading posts on Twitter by English Defence League Leader Tommy Robinson.

"I think he was a ticking time bomb. I should have realised 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.

Opening the prosecution case yesterday, Mr Rees said Osborne 'was trying to kill as many of the group as possible' as he drove a van into worshippers who had attended Ramadan night prayers near two mosques.

Mr Rees told jurors: "The underlying theme seems to be that the defendant felt that insufficient was being said or done to counter terrorism and the grooming gangs comprising predominantly Muslim males.

"Against that background, the defendant decided to take matters into his own hands."

Osborne denies murder and attempted murder.

The trial continues.