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Driver behind London van attack on Muslims was born in Singapore

 The driver of the van that ploughed into worshippers near a London mosque in the early hours of Monday (June 19), injuring 10 people, two of them seriously, has been identified as a 47-year-old father of four who was born in Singapore, according to British media reports.

British newspapers The Guardian and Daily Mirror identified him as Darren Osborne, who lives with his partner and four children in Cardiff, Wales. He was grabbed at the scene by locals and pinned down until police arrived. The BBC has also named Obsorne as the alleged driver of the van. 

He is being held on suspicion of preparing or instigating terrorism, including murder and attempted murder.

After being arrested on Monday, Osborne said he had wanted to kill "many Muslim people," one witness told journalists.

According to public records, Osborne was born in Singapore in 1969, reported The Guardian and Daily Mirror.  

He grew up in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset,  where he attended Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College, according to The Telegraph.

His mother, Christine Osborne, 72, told ITV News her son was a "complex" person, adding: "I'm not going to defend him but you know he's my son and it's a terrible terrible shock and it's not just robbing the bank, it's an atrocity."

One of Osborne's neighbours in Cardiff, Khadijah Sherazi, described how Osborne had recently become abusive. He had previously been on good terms with her, even offering to fix her broken tap. 

But over the weekend, he called her 12-year-old son an "inbred" while he was out playing on his bike outside his home, she told The Telegraph. 

Osborne was also thrown out of a local pub on Saturday for getting drunk, “cursing Muslims and saying he would do some damage”.

Other neighbours described him as “aggressive” and “strange”. Some said he was jobless, but bought and sold cars, reported The Guardian.

The vehicle driven by Osborne swerved into a group of mainly North and West African people shortly after midnight as they left prayers at the Muslim Welfare House and the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the biggest in Britain, in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a sickening, terrorist attack on Muslims.

The driver was grabbed at the scene by locals and pinned down until police arrived.

A man, who had earlier suffered a heart attack, died at the scene but it was not clear if his death was connected to the van attack.

"This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city: the second this month and every bit as sickening as those which have come before," May told reporters outside her Downing Street office. "This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship,"said May who later visited the mosque.

The attack was the fourth since March in Britain and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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