Judiciary of england and wales: woolwich crown court: r v xx, 02 february 2018.
- 2017 - 2018
- United Kingdom
Identification of the Source
Judiciary of England and Wales: Woolwich Crown Court: R v XX - 02 February 2018.
KeywordsDarren Osborne, Far Right, Finsbury Park Mosque, Anti-Islam
After years of alcohol abuse and petty crime, it is suspected that XX became increasingly alongside Far Right ideologies against immigrants, refugees and in particular Islam. The majority of this has been identified to have exponentially increased starting with May 2017:
May 2017: In the month of May 2017 Osborne watched the BBC drama documentary: "Three Girls" which told the true story of the grooming and sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale, England by British Pakistani Muslim men. Osborne became incensed by what he believed to be the inadequate response of political leaders and other authorities to such criminal conduct. His online research and joining of Twitter early in June 2017 exposed him to a great deal of extreme-right racist and anti-Islamic ideology.
June 2017: XX was rapidly radicalised over the internet encountering and consuming material put out in both the UK and USA designed to spread hatred of Muslims on the basis of their religion. In particular the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by extremist Islamists fuelled his rage. Over the space of a month or so his mind set became one of malevolent hatred.
Osborne was inspired to carry out an attack on innocent members of the Muslim public. Over a weekend in mid-June he acted to kill, maim, injure and terrify as many people as he could. Osborne targeted the Al Quds march in London because many people of the Islamic faith would be congregating there and from his research, he believed that the leader of the Labour Party was due to attend as well as potentially having the Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan) also there. In evidence he described the prospect of killing both of those men in his attack as being "like winning the lottery".’
Osborne planned to copy the existing methodology used by some Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe, taking a vehicle to a densely populated place to wreak as much devastation as possible as well as sowing long lasting terror among the Muslim population.
Osborne perceived his attack as a 'suicide mission', expecting to be shot dead by the police, as he knew the Islamist terrorists who committed the prior London Bridge attack had been. He wrote a suicide note the night before driving to London. In it he set out in foul language his twisted view of Muslims said that he wanted peaceful vigils.
17th June 2017: On 17th the June, Osborne hired a large, heavy transit van and the next day he took it from Cardiff to London intending to deploy it as a lethal weapon to drive into and murder innocent people lawfully assembling and protesting in London. He told the jury he intended to plough through as many of them as possible. But he failed in that endeavour because he could not get his van near the march. There is no doubt that the detailed public safety arrangements made by the Metropolitan Police for the Al Quds Day march saved many lives.
Frustrated and angry he drove around London for hours looking for an alternative target. At midnight he ended up in north London near the Finsbury Park Mosque. The streets were busy at this time due in part to it being the month of Ramadan and many of those in the area had broken their fasts and were coming from prayers. Eventually he saw a crowd of people who had gathered around to help a man collapsed on the ground in the entrance to a cul-de-sac. Many of them were wearing in distinctive Islamic dress. He had found his target. He accelerated the van towards them intending to kill as many people as he could. The fact that traffic was stopped at lights just before the side road where the crowd was, and he had to cross a bus lane meant that he was able to reach no more than about 16 miles an hour before he struck them.
Over twelve innocent members of the public struck and injured. XX who was lying on the ground was run over with the tyre marks left on his torso. He died immediately because internally his heart was severed from vital vessels.
After his arrest XX celebrated and smiled. He said while he was being restrained: "Well I've done my job, he can kill me now. He shouted at some of those holding he, I want to kill he, I want to kill more Muslims." XX tested to be sober of any alcohol or narcotics from a police breathalyser. After his arrest he persisted in stating: "At least I had a fucking proper go." He made frank admissions later: "I accelerated a big van for about 20ft into people."
Osborne admitted that he carried out the attack on his own. In his own words he stated that he was: "flying solo".
Type of Crime
Terror-related crime (TN)/ Serious and Organised Crime (OC) - Darren Osborne - An individual whose ideology is considered to be Extreme Right used violence to murder one individual, and injure many others (more than twelve) when driving their van into a crowd gathered outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, Central London.
• Paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause. Equally,
• In accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection, which is an aggravating feature It is accepted on his behalf that this is so.
Type of attack
The attack that XX carried out was ultimately sentenced under:
(In the terms of paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause. Equally, and in accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection, which is an aggravating feature.
Mrs XX, the Judge of the Case gave described the attack and sentence type:
"As required s.172 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 I have considered the Sentencing Council Guideline for offences of Attempted Murder. To those you did not manage to kill you caused differing degrees of harm including serious and long term physical and psychological harm. I bear in mind the number of murders you intended to commit, the associated offence of murder, and the terrorist nature of the offending while avoiding double counting and having regard to the principle of totality. This means that when sentencing for more than one offence a judge must pass an overall sentence which is proportionate and just.
You attempted to kill at least a dozen people and succeeded in taking the life of peaceful man you knew nothing about and had never met. You acted alone. You had not been radicalised over a long period of time but your rapid decline into irrational hatred of all Muslims turned you a danger to the public. The court has seen no evidence that the danger you present has lessened; indeed, you conduct and language in court exposes your unreformed attitude and lack of insight. You will pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm occasioned by the commission of further serious specified violent offences for a very long time: perhaps for the rest of your life.
There is no mitigation in your case because although you were radicalised within a short period of time you have had much longer than that to see the error of your ways but you steadfastly refuse to do so and even in the grave atmosphere of a criminal trial, before a jury of your fellow countrymen, you repeated your perverted hatred of Muslims.
Accordingly, I pass a discretionary life sentence for the offence of attempted murder pursuant to s.225 Criminal Justice Act 2003
I will pass the same minimum term on each offence to reflect the totality of your offending.
I therefore pass concurrent life sentences for these two offences. The appropriate minimum term for this terrorist murder in the context of an attempt at multiple murder is 43 years. The days you have spent on remand must be deducted resulting in a minimum term of 43 years minus 224 days."
The primary modus operandi was the use of a large heavy vehicle to drive onto the crowded pavement outside a mosque, to plough into and kill and injure as many Islamic worshipers as possible. This modus operandi was copied from Islamic extremist attacks that happened across Europe in the UK, France and Germany for example. Osborne's attack was believed to be a revenge attack in an 'eye for an eye' style.
Osborne had been radicalised in his depressive and alcohol abuse/unemployed state significantly over the internet, he had created a twitter profile that did not tweet anything but instead followed lots of far-right groups and leaders, through this he had access to viewing the disseminated far right propaganda, which was particularly anti-Islamic.
XX, born in Singapore, but raised in Weston-Super-Mare, South East England. Current residence prior to the attack was Cardiff, Wales. (Perpetrator)
Makram Ali, Born on XX in Bangladesh. Resided in North London prior to his murder. (Victim)
XX had a long criminal history of both petty and serious crimes as well as a documented history of alcohol abuse. Prior to his arrest for the Finnsbury Park attack, Osborne had been unemployed for ten years. He was described by people in his local community and housing street as a 'loner' as having violent tendencies and vocal outbursts of offensive and racist language.
Osborne had 102 criminal convictions acquired from his youth onwards. They included offences of public disorder and violence, including assaulting a police officer. Osborne had experienced youth custody and sentences of imprisonment. Over the years he had been given access to support services to help him reform with probation and community rehabilitation orders. However, XX repeatedly breached these orders. Aged 36 Osborne received an extended sentence for GBH with intent to cause serious bodily harm, maim or even kill.
His partner XX who described he as a ‘ticking time bomb” challenged his views, his own daughter who has Muslim school friends argued with he and, in the end stopped bringing her friend’s home, Sapper Callum Spence, a serving soldier challenged he when he were shouting out things like, All Muslims are terrorists, I'm going to kill all the Muslims in the pub the night before he set off for London.
Influential and/or vulnerable Groups
The case of XX is one of two very high-profile extreme-right terrorist style attacks and murders that the UK has seen in the past five years. In a similar manner to the other Far Right murderer of Jo Cox: XX. XX demonstrated a sustained period of unemployment and a history of mental health problems, furthermore both of them appeared to have acted in relative isolation to specific groups and other individuals and under investigation had viewed large quantities of extreme right propaganda over the internet.
Therefore, it may be argued that XX was a member of a vulnerable group, due to a long-term history of criminal acts and failed rehabilitation, but most noticeably from the mental health problems of depression, alongside alcohol abuse, it may be considered that additionally his lack of employment could be an exacerbating factor is in his radicalisation.