London- The family of Darren Osborne, the 47-year-old man whose vehicle hit people as they were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, early on Monday morning, described him on Tuesday as a “troubled” person and expressed sympathy with the victims.
His mother, Christine (72) said she screamed when she saw her son’s photo on television.
“My son is not a terrorist. He is just a man with problems.”
The mother added: “I’m not going to defend him but he’s my son and it’s a terrible, terrible shock.”
In a statement on behalf of the family, Osborne’s nephew, Ellis Osborne (26), said: “We are massively shocked. It’s unbelievable. We are devastated for the families, our hearts go out to the people who have been injured.”
According to some witnesses, Osborne shouted he wanted to “kill all Muslims” after he drove a rented van into a crowd leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park on Monday morning.
His Muslim neighbor Khadijeh Sherizi said: “I saw him on the news and I thought ‘oh my God’ that is my neighbor.”
Sherizi added: “He has been so normal. He was in his kitchen yesterday afternoon singing with his kids. He was the dad of the family. He has kids. He lives next door. He seemed polite and pleasant to me. I just can’t believe it.”
For his part, another neighbor Saleem Naema, 50, said: “I have lived here for five years. He was already living here when I moved in.”
Naema added: “If I ever needed anything, he would come. I just can’t believe that he did that. I am a Muslim.”
Darren Osborne, who is from Cardiff in south Wales, is being questioned by police on suspicion of attempted murder and alleged terror offences.