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Trial of Darren Osborne draws to a close
All week I have been following the trial of Darren Osborne, the man charged with murder and attempted murder after the van he appeared to be driving hit a group of Muslim worshippers who were leaving the Muslim Welfare House near the Finsbury Park Mosque. Makram Ali died and others have been injured long term.
The left-leaning Independent has had a senior reporter, one Lizzie Dearden, at the trial at the Crown Court Woolwich every day liveblogging, they regard this as so much more important than any other of the many terrorist trials and murder trials of the past year.
On the first day she was anxious to tell readers that Osborne had recently watched the BBC Docudrama Three Girls about the abuse victims in Rochdale; that he had read articles on Lee Rigby, the Manchester Arena bombing and other grooming gangs AND that in the hours before the attack he had received messages from both Tommy Robinson and Jayda Fransen of Britain First. It was later clarified, after Tommy's lawyer intervened, that these were not personal messages, but that Osborne had read general messages available to all, in Tommy Robinson's case through Rebel Media. Tommy's lawyer must wait until the end of the trial before she can call up a transcript of what was said in the first instance; she will then know whether to direct the complaint to the Crown Prosecution Service, or if their remarks were not correctly reported but shaded with bias to the Press Complaints Commission about the Independent. Time will tell. That is, at the moment, a side issue.
We have had descriptions of the incident, how the crowd looked likely to tear Osborne apart had an Imam not stepped in insisting that he must stand a proper trial. There has been reporting of Osborne's remarks upon arrest.
Among the victims whose accounts were heard were a disabled man who was knocked out of his wheelchair, a deaf man, a victim who suffered a fractured skull and one whose artificial leg was run
over in the attack.
He pleaded not guilty and his defence began yesterday and continued today. He set out from Wales in the hire van with the intention of murdering Jeremy Corbyn who he anticipated would be attending the Al Quds march to Grosvenor Square that afternoon and hopeful that Sadiq Khan would also be nearby (neither of them were there - however I was, observing) He couldn't get near, he got lost, eventually he found his way into Jeremy Corbyn's constituency and the Finsbury Park Mosque is a well-known name.
He maintains that he was helped by some friends 'Dave' and 'Terry Jones'.
Osborne told Woolwich Crown Court he had been planning to set up a Welsh far-right group with Dave and another man, Terry Jones, to be called the Taffia.
That joke was old when I was a child. I don't think he is giving his trial and his actions the seriousness they deserve.
Osborne admitted he had earlier been driving the van, but claimed he was in the footwell of the passenger seat removing his trousers before the moment of impact.
Defence barrister Lisa Wilding QC said: "Did you know who was the driver of the van?" Osborne replied: "A guy called Dave."
Osborne was asked by Jonathan Rees QC how he could explain why he was the only person seen on CCTV getting out of the van after the collision. Mr Rees said: "And Dave may be a funny fella, but he is not a magician is he?"
Osborne replied: "He's like Dynamo, an illusion. An illusionist. He can make himself vanish perhaps. I don't know."
Darren Osborne in the witness box with defence barrister Lisa Wilding QC (right) at Woolwich Crown Court
The summing up will be tomorrow and then the jury will go out to deliberate. I do believe we are in a war, undeclared, but then the Cold War was never declared either. The taking of human life is not a matter for levity or lightness. We are better than that. Murder is wrong. But lets wait for the verdict.