Wales

Finsbury Park attack: Community's shock at man's arrest

Property in Cardiff being searched by police Image copyright PA
Image caption Officers carried out searches at a property in Cardiff

Neighbours of a man being held after the Finsbury Park attack in London have spoken of their shock at his arrest.

Darren Osborne, 47, from Cardiff, was arrested after worshippers appeared to be targeted by a man driving a van near Finsbury Park Mosque early on Monday.

He is being held on suspicion of attempted murder and alleged terror offences.

His family said he had been "troubled for a long time" but denied he was racist.

On Tuesday evening, the Met's counter terrorism unit was given until the early hours of Saturday to question Mr Osborne.

He is being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism, attempted murder and murder and is in custody at a south London police station.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police are examining the van used in the attack

One neighbour said a man he thought was Mr Osborne had been seen sleeping in a van on Saturday night.

Another said he had been living in a tent in woodland after being kicked out of the family home.

South Wales Police confirmed that 24 hours before the London attack it had responded to a 101 call following reports of an "insecure van" in the Llanedeyrn area of Cardiff.

Officers found a man asleep inside, but determined no offence had been committed.

Another man said he was "absolutely shocked" at Mr Osborne's arrest and said his was a mixed community where he had never seen any trouble.

"It is a cosmopolitan city and always has been," he said.

"It hasn't happened on our own doorstep but it has because the guy comes from here. We don't want to be linked to it."

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Media captionFootage shows the suspected attacker being tackled to the ground before the police arrive

Khadijeh Sherizi said Mr Osborne was polite and her children, who are Muslim, would play with his children most days.

"In Cardiff, it can be quite racist. Sometimes I feel threatened with my veil on. I know exactly what people are thinking by their looks," she said.

"But there has been nothing from him [Mr Osborne], no threats, no animosity at all."

Another resident said Mr Osborne was a friendly neighbour, helping her lift heavy items and always playing with his children in the park.

In a statement, Mr Osborne's family said: "We are massively shocked. It's unbelievable. It still hasn't really sunk in.

"We are devastated for the families. Our hearts go out to the people who have been injured."

Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Neighbours said Mr Osborne was friendly and polite

The attack happened as a man who had been taken ill was receiving first aid from the public near the mosque, where people had been saying Ramadan night prayers.

The van was apparently driven at people who were helping him.

The man died and nine people were taken to three London hospitals, while two others were treated for minor injuries.

Police said inquiries were still ongoing to establish whether the man died as a result of the attack.

Witnesses said they heard the driver, who was detained by members of the public before police arrived, shout: "I am going to kill Muslims."

Photographs of the van used in the attack showed it was rented from Pontyclun Van Hire in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Image caption People in Cardiff joined others in London to hold vigils in a show of solidarity

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