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Finsbury Park trial as it happened: Court hears victim died 'instantly' as defence to begin over 'attack on Muslims'

The defence of the alleged Finsbury Park terror attacker is due to start on Monday at Woolwich Crown Court.

A brief hearing on Friday was adjourned after the judge, Justice Cheema-Grubb, told the jury further time was needed to prepare the case.

Darren Osborne, 48, denies charges of murder and attempted murder after allegedly ramming a van into Muslim worshippers on 19 June.

The attack, deemed by prosecutors to be an act of terrorism, killed one man and seriously injured nine others, including one victim who was left trapped under the van.

Mr Osborne’s partner previously told the court that the father-of-four became “brainwashed” after watching a drama on grooming gangs and reading far-right social media posts.

Live Updates

3 days ago

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the fifth day of the Finsbury Park attack trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
Yesterday the prosecution wrapped up its case against Darren Osborne, who denies charges of murder and attempted murder after allegedly ramming a van into Muslim worshippers and killing 51-year-old Makram Ali.
His defence team are due to begin making their case to the jury today. Here is a summary of what the court heard on Thursday:

3 days ago

The start of today’s proceedings have been delayed for approximately one hour.

2 days ago

The start of today’s proceedings has been delayed for approximately one hour.

2 days ago

The court is being reconvened after a long delay during which the jury was not present, and so nothing said can be reported.

2 days ago

The jury has been called back in and the judge, Justice Cheema-Grubb, has told them they will not need to return until 2pm on Monday.
She says: “I can tell you that there has been a development in this case – we will find out more about that later – but the consequence is I need to give some time for the further preparation of this case.”

2 days ago

That marks the end of an uneventful day at Woolwich Crown Court. We will be bringing you more updates as soon as possible on Monday.
Thank you for reading.

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On Thursday, the court heard that 51-year-old Makram Ali collapsed of unknown causes after leaving Ramadan prayers at the nearby Muslim Welfare House.

He fell to the ground just two minutes before the van struck and killed him shortly after midnight on 19 June, the court heard.

Some of the witnesses who rushed to help the grandfather previously speculated that he may have suffered a heart attack, but a Home Office pathologist said there was no abnormality.

Dr Simon Poole said low blood sugar or muscle weakness could have led to Mr Ali’s collapse but he was alive, talking and moving in the moments before being struck.

“The injuries are best summarised as being catastrophic,” he said. “The heart and lungs ceased to function abruptly… He would have died virtually instantaneously.”

Reports from forensic collision investigators concluded that Mr Osborne “intentionally steered” the van, which he hired in Cardiff and drove to London, into the crowd of worshippers.

Tests found that the vehicle was in good condition and there was nothing in the road that would have caused Mr Osborne to swerve or crash.

The court previously heard the pro-Palestinian al-Quds Day march may have been the father-of-four’s original target but he found surrounding roads closed and started searching for mosques in London.

Mr Osborne’s partner said he became “brainwashed” after watching a television programme on grooming gangs in Rochdale and the investigation of phones and an iPad showed he read posts by far-right figures including Tommy Robinson and Jayda Fransen.

Police body-worn camera footage played to the jury earlier this week, showed the defendant launching into expletive-filled rants targeting Muslims, grooming gangs, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn, Lily Allen and the Labour Party.

The same themes were repeated in a note found in his van, which the court heard Mr Osborne wrote while telling drinkers in a Cardiff pub: “I’m going to kill Muslims, your family are going to be Muslims, they’re all terrorists and I’m going to take it into my own hands.”

The trial continues.

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