A 47-year-old man arrested after a terror attack near a London mosque had been kicked out of a pub ‘for cursing Muslims’ just a day before the incident, a media report said.
Father-of-four Darren Osborne was arrested by police after a van ploughed into pedestrians outside the Mosque on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, North London. One person was killed and 11 others injured in the attack.
The victims were all Muslims and the incident was declared a terror attack on the Muslim population. Witnesses said the driver shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims”, before onlookers pinned him to the ground.
Shocked neighbours said Osborne had recently been kicked out by partner Sarah Andrews -- and was forced to live in a tent.
Others claim that he was ejected from the town’s Hollybush pub on Saturday night for drunkenly cursing Muslims.
“He got chucked out as he was so drunk,” The Sun quoted a regular visitor at the pub as saying.
“He was cursing Muslims and saying he would do some damage,” he said.
However, his mother Christine said her son was not a terrorist and had never shown any hatred towards Muslims.
“This is every mother’s worst nightmare,” she said.
Christine said she screamed in horror after spotting her son in TV footage of the attack.
“As a mum my heart goes out to everyone in Finsbury Park,” she said.
Two Muslim neighbours of Osborne said he had never showed any animosity towards them.
Mum-of-six Khadijah Sherazi, a British Islamic convert, moved next door to Osborne six months ago.
“This is a complete shock, I thought he was a normal neighbour, laughing and joking. He fixed my leaky tap the other day,” she said.
“He seemed like a good dad, he takes the kids to school and back every day and walks the dogs,” she said.
Saleem Naema, who is from Iraq, lives on the same road.
He said: “I couldn’t believe when I realised it was him who was accused. “We’d say hello everyday when dropping the kids off at school and he never had a problem with me at all. I’m a Muslim and he was never nasty or racist towards me,” he said.
Image: Armed police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians near a mosque in Finsbury Park area. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters