Originally published in: RTE News on Feb. 3, 2018, 12:04 p.m.
A 48-year-old man who deliberately mowed down Muslim worshippers in London in a "suicide mission" terror attack has been jailed for at least 43 years.
Darren Osborne ploughed a hire van on to a crowded footpath outside two mosques in Finsbury Park, London, shortly after midnight on June 19 last year, killing Makram Ali, 51, and injuring 12 others.
Osborne, who had denied murder and attempted murder, acted to "kill, maim, injure and terrify" as many people as possible in a bid to sow "long-lasting terror among the Muslim population".
As sentencing was passed at Woolwich Crown Court, he gave no reaction when Ms Justice Cheema-Grubb told him: "This was a terrorist attack. You intended to kill."
Ruzina Akhtar, one of Mr Ali's six children, appeared emotional outside court as she told how the family could not imagine what her father had felt in his final moments before being struck by the van.
Father-of-four Osborne had been "rapidly radicalised" by far-right material online and his "rage" fuelled by a string of UK terror attacks committed by "extremist Islamists", the court heard.
"Over the space of a month or so your mindset became one of malevolent hatred," the judge said.
"In short, you allowed your mind to be poisoned by those who claim to be leaders."
A jury took just one hour to convict Osborne yesterday, dismissing his 11th-hour defence that a "fabricated" accomplice named Dave had been driving at the point of impact.
Sentencing today, the judge said: "You have been convicted on overwhelming evidence by an intelligent British jury who saw through your pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them by blaming someone else for your crimes."The court heard he had become "obsessed" with Muslims after watching BBC drama Three Girls and was angered by what he deemed as inaction following a string of UK terror attacks.
Ms Justice Cheema-Grubb said while he was radicalised in just weeks, his conduct in court exposed his "unreformed attitude and lack of insight" and his "belligerent and violent" character would pose a significant risk to the public for a long time to come.
During his nine-day trial, Osborne told the court he had wanted to kill senior Labour figures including leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
He had also plotted to murder Rochdale Labour councillor Aftab Hussain, who he said had backed a member of grooming gangs, but called it off because he wanted "more casualties".
The attacker admitted he had initially hoped to target the pro-Palestinian Al Quds march in central London, but his plans were thwarted by road closures.
Instead, he made his way to Finsbury Park, where he struck Muslims leaving evening prayers on the junction between Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street.
The court heard Osborne had a criminal record spanning 30 years and had appeared in court on 33 occasions for 102 convictions.
He first appeared in court aged just 15 and went on to commit an array of offences including shoplifting, fraud, burglary and assault.
He was sentenced to two years in prison for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in 2006.
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