British media identified Darren Osborne as the suspect held in connection with Monday’s van attack on a group of Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in London’s Finsbury Park neighbourhood.
Several media outlets, including The Guardian and The Sun, named Osborne as the man accused of plowing a van into a group of Muslims who were leaving evening prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque at about 12:20 a.m.
Police said 10 people were injured in the attack, eight of whom were hospitalized. The driver of the van was arrested at the scene after being detained by several members of the public. The man is being held on terror offences and suspicion of attempted murder, according to police.
Here’s what we know so far about the suspect.
Citing British Security Minister Ben Wallace, The Guardian reported Osborne, 47, to be a married father of four, from the Welsh city of Cardiff.
Relatives and acquaintances have described him as “complex” or “troubled” in comments to the British media.
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Witnesses said Osborne claimed he wanted to “kill all Muslims” after he drove into a crowd leaving a mosque early Monday.
The British security minister told The Guardian the suspect was not known to intelligence officials.
“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,” the newspaper quoted Wallace as saying.
A neighbour of Osborne told the British newspaper they had recognized Osborne after seeing a photo on television.
“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,’” Dave Ashford said.
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Another neighbour told The Guardian Osborne “seemed normal enough.”
“The police have been back and forward here all day. It’s a terrible shock,” Pauline Tibbs told the newspaper. “I’ve seen him walking in the street but never spoken to him. He seemed normal enough.”
The suspect’s mother, Christine, called the attack on innocent people an “atrocity.”
“I’m not going to defend him, but it’s my son and it’s a terrible, terrible shock and it’s not just robbing the bank, it’s an atrocity and I just at the moment in time, I can’t cope with it, I can’t,” the mother told local media.
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Speaking with British tabloid The Sun, the mother said she was worried about her son’s four children.
“My concern is for my grandchildren, though I think they’ve been taken to a safe place somewhere,” Christine said.
Christine said Osborne suffered from mental health issues but never showed signs suggesting he would carry out such an act.
“My son is no terrorist, he’s just a man with mental issues and I don’t know how to cope with all this. He’s never spoken to me about terror attacks or talked about ‘bloody Muslims’ — never in a million years and that’s the truth,” she told the newspaper. “As a mom my heart goes out to everyone in Finsbury Park.”
Another neighbour told Reuters news agency Osborne was never unpleasant towards her even though she’s a Muslim.
“I saw him walking the dogs, walking the kids to school and back. Just everyday things like everyone else. Just, you know, he was never unpleasant to me or anything,” the neighbour said. “I just didn’t think it is suspect anything or that his views were that strong and that he even hated Muslims, with us being Muslims as well next door. So it is just a shock that he has done what he has done.”
Authorities have yet to formally name the suspect in the van attack. Police believe the driver of the van acted alone but are continuing to investigate the circumstances leading up to the attack.
–with a file from The Associated Press