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Finsbury Park attacker named as Cardiff resident Darren Osborne

The Guardian logo The Guardian 2017-06-19 Robert Booth, Steven Morris and Ian Cobain
Darren Osborne has been named as the suspect accused of ploughing a van into a group of Muslim worshippers. © Facebook Darren Osborne has been named as the suspect accused of ploughing a van into a group of Muslim worshippers.

The Finsbury Park mosque attacker is believed to be Darren Osborne, a 47-year old living in Cardiff.

The attacker who reportedly shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims,” as he drove a van at a crowd of worshippers in the small hours of Monday morning is described as a married father of four, whose family are based in Weston-super-Mare.

Related: Finsbury Park attack: Suspect named as Darren Osborne, 47-year-old who lives in Cardiff – latest updates

Police were on Monday searching an address in a cul-de-sac in the Llanedeyrn area, close to Cardiff golf club in the north-east of the city suburbs.

He was not known to the government according to Ben Wallace, the security minister. “What I can say on this case is this individual, so far as we know at the moment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right,” said Wallace.

Onlookers watch proceedings at the security cordon at the scene in Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehichle hit pedestrians, on June 19, 2017.  © Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images Onlookers watch proceedings at the security cordon at the scene in Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehichle hit pedestrians, on June 19, 2017. 

Osborne was arrested by police on suspicion of attempted murder following the attack shortly after midnight Monday morning.

“This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting,” said the Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick. “We treat this as a terrorist attack and we in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened.”

Osborne was born in Singapore and his mother, sister and nephew live in Weston-super-Mare, a Somerset seaside town.

Neighbours told of their shock after seeing pictures of police arresting Osborne. Dave Ashford, 52, said: “Someone called me and said it was him and I said, ‘It can’t be.’ Then I saw the picture on the news and said, ‘It’s him.’”

Pauline Tibbs, 48, said: “The police have been back and forward here all day. It’s a terrible shock. “I’ve seen him walking in the street but never spoken to him. He seemed normal enough.”

People who knew him also confirmed his identity on social media.

The Met police said in a statement: “At this stage in the investigation, it is believed that the suspect acted alone but we are of course investigating all the circumstances leading up to the attack.”

Related: Sadiq Khan: The Finsbury Park imam’s heroism shows where London can find its strength

Several far right groups are active in south Wales, in the vicinity of Pontyclun where Osborne is believed to have hired the van used in the attack. They include the South Wales National Front. Its leader, Adam Lloyd, is based in Bridgend, but it has denied any connection to the attacker.

Lloyd, the SWNF organiser, denied any connection to the attacker.

“The man in question is not known to any of us here in South Wales National Front, and to our knowledge is not and never has been a member,” he said.

“Although we will never condone or accept this kind of violent attacks here in SWNF, anyone with a right mind can see this is not a terrorist attack but a revenge attack.”

One witness to the attack, who gave the name Abdulrahman, said: “He wanted to run away and was saying, ‘I want to kill Muslims.’ So he came back to the main road and I managed to get him to the ground and me and some other guys managed to hold him until the police arrived, for about 20 minutes I think, until the police arrived.”

He was protected by an imam at the mosque, Mohammed Mahmoud.

“There was a mob attempt to hurt him, so we pushed pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police,” Mahmoud said. He waved to onlookers from the back of the police van as he was led away.

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