Man accused in U.K. van attack against Muslims was 'ticking time bomb'

Darren Osborne, accused of driving a van into worshippers near London's Finsbury Park Mosque, became convinced that all Muslims were extremists or rapists in pedophile gangs, according to the prosecutor.

Girlfriend's statement opens Darren Osborne's murder trial in London

Darren Osborne, 48, accused of driving a van into worshippers near London's Finsbury Park Mosque, became convinced that all Muslims were extremists or rapists in pedophile gangs, a prosecutor said Monday. (Facebook)

A man accused of driving a van into worshippers near London's Finsbury Park Mosque became convinced that all Muslims were extremists or rapists in pedophile gangs, a prosecutor said Monday.

Darren Osborne, 48, is accused of driving into a crowd of worshippers attending Ramadan prayers in June. A 51-year-old man, Makram Ali, was killed and at least nine people were injured in the attack.

Osborne, of Cardiff, Wales, denies charges of murder and attempted murder.

On the first day of Osborne's murder trial, prosecutor Jonathan Rees said, "his act of extreme violence was, indeed, an act of terrorism."

Osborne was pinned to the ground by several men until police arrived, and was heard to say "I want to kill more Muslims," Rees said.

Forensic officers move the van at Finsbury Park in north London, where a vehicle struck pedestrians near a mosque, June 19, 2017. One man was killed, nine people were injured. (Frank Augstein/Associated Press)

He said a handwritten note was found in the cab of the van within hours of the June 19 attack, complaining of terrorists and referring to a case in which several Muslim men were convicted of sexually exploiting women and girls in the northern England town of Rotherham. Osborne had watched a BBC drama, Three Girls, about a similar case shortly before the attack.

Osborne's partner, Sarah Andrews, said he had become "brainwashed" and was a "ticking time bomb," the prosecutor said.

In a statement read to jurors at Woolwich Crown Court in London, Andrews said Osborne had been "openly saying a lot of racist things and tarring all Muslims with the same brush."

"I should have realized 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.

People look over floral tributes close to the scene in Finsbury Park on June 20. Prosecutors consider the incident a terrorist attack. (Andy Rain/EPA)

With files from CBC news