Alleged Finsbury Park attacker conjured his defence ‘out of thin air’

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A man who allegedly ploughed his van into a group of Muslims conjured his defence “out of thin air” after losing the courage of his convictions, a court was told.

Jurors trying Darren Osborne, of Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, were warned not to let him “pull the wool” over their eyes with his “frankly absurd” account.

The 48-year-old is alleged to have deliberately mown down worshippers outside two mosques in north London using a van, shortly after 12.15am on June 19 last year.

He claims to have plotted with two men called Terry and Dave to “plough through as many” people as possible at a pro-Palestinian march, before abandoning the idea and travelling to Finsbury Park for a drink in a pub.

Osborne said Dave had jumped into the van under the railway bridge along Seven Sisters road and got in the footwell, before switching with him, but denies knowing Dave was going to drive into pedestrians.

Jonathan Rees QC, delivering his closing speech for the prosecution at Woolwich Crown Court, told jurors the motivation for Osborne’s mission was the “warped hatred of all Muslims, which had its roots in material he had watched on television and online”.

The prosecutor said Osborne’s decision to serve a statement five days into his trial, and then a second, contradictory statement three days later, “tells you everything you need to know about the defendant’s approach to these proceedings”.

He added: “We suggest that the defendant has conjured up a defence out of thin air.”

In his closing remarks, Mr Rees told the jury the defendant had lied and urged them “not to allow him to pull the wool over your eyes”.

He said Osborne’s account that he had been in the footwell of the van was “frankly absurd” and that he had provided no explanation for the bulk of the points the Crown was relying on while in the witness box.

The defendant was trying to pin the blame on someone he had “invented” because he “does not have the courage of his convictions”, Mr Rees said.

He said: “Dave did not vanish into thin air, did he? He was never there in the first place.”

Earlier on Wednesday Osborne likened his companion to the magician Dynamo, when asked to 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.”

Mr Rees said: “All this business about first Dave hiding himself down and then you a little later, all this is all made up, isn’t it?

“No it’s not,” Osborne countered.

Osborne denies the murder of Makram Ali, 51, and the attempted murder of “persons at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, London”.

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