Tag Archives: mosque conviction

A NAZI-sympathiser who threatened to petrol bomb mosques after the Manchester Arena attack and who had an array of medieval weapons at his home has been jailed for eight years.

Hitler-obsessive Liam Seabrook, 31, told his probation officer he planned to kill Muslims in a series of text messages four days after 22 people were murdered at the Ariana Grande concert.

Hitler-obsessive Liam Seabrook, 31, told his probation officer he planned to kill Muslims in a series of text messages four days after 22 people were murdered at the Ariana Grande concert.

The judge at Teesside Crown Court branded him “dangerous” and imposed an extended sentence.

When police went to his home in Thornaby, Teesside, they found petrol in washing up liquid bottles and crude home-made wooden weapons with screws and razor blades sticking out of them.

One was likened by Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, to a fasces – a weapon carried by Roman magistrates made from sticks with blades attached.

He said the weapons were adapted to cause “significant injuries” and were “medieval style weaponry”.

When police went to Liam Seabrook’s home crude home-made wooden weapons with screws and razor blades sticking out of them

Some were located close to his front door, the court heard.

When cable ties were found at Seabrook’s flat, he explained he had them “in case he needed to kidnap somebody”, Mr Abrahams said.

The chilling texts were sent in response to a routine inquiry from his probation officer.

He told her: “After Monday (the day of the Manchester bombing), Muslims and mosques need to be petrol bombed.”

She asked if he intended to carry out the threat, and Seabrook replied: “If something happens, something happens. By that time it would be (too late) to be stopped, like the Muslim attack on Manchester.”

Bizarrely, he then told her he had passed a forklift drivers’ course.

Mr Abrahams said Seabrook sent racist texts and expressed views about killing Muslims.

Psychiatrists found later he was fascinated by the Third Reich and Hitler in particular.

He had a previous conviction for arson, writing racist graffiti and leaving a note in a library calling for immigrants to be banned from using it.

Alex Bousfield, defending, said there was no suggestion Seabrook had ever taken his weapons out of his flat and that they were more like “bizarre ornaments”.

Seabrook was isolated and stockpiled goods so he would not have to leave his home, the court heard.

Mr Bousfield said: “He has really seen the outside world through media reports and he has picked and chosen those he has taken on board.

“He has become fearful of almost anyone except white males, really.”

Seabrook, who has been diagnosed with a mixed personality disorder, admitted making threats to kill, malicious communication, making threats to destroy property and having articles with intent to destroy property.

He was sentenced via a videolink from prison.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton sentenced Seabrook to eight years custody with an extended two year licence period.

After deeming him dangerous, the judge said: “The weapons were very basic, nevertheless of a very violent type which could have resulted in extreme injury, if not death, if put to use.”

He made an order banning Seabrook from going within 200 metres of a mosque when he is released and said Seabrook had a long history of espousing right wing ideology.

Sharon Elves, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Liam Seabrook made a clear threat to burn down mosques and attack Muslims in what he believed was ‘retaliation’ for terrorist attacks that had occurred within the UK in previous months.

“From the cache of homemade weapons found at his home, including clubs covered with razor blades and bottles of carefully mixed accelerant for starting fires, it was also clear that he possessed the means to carry out his threat.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with Cleveland Police to build a robust case against Liam Seabrook, leaving him with little option but to plead guilty to these very serious offences.”

Detective Constable Gerri Harris, from Stockton Operational Crime Team, said: “The sentence today sends a clear warning that if you make threats to harm people and create dangerous weapons in order to do so, there will be serious consequences.

“Liam Seabrook is clearly a dangerous man and the fact that he will remain in prison means that the public are protected from him for some time.”

Northern Echo

Osborne tells the court ‘God bless you all, thank you’ after beng sentenced to minimum term of 43 years

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

Darren Osborne has been jailed for life – with a minimum term of 43 years – for carrying out the Finsbury Park terror attack.

Justice Cheema-Grubb said she had not given Osborne a rare full-life term because he did not achieve his original aim to kill multiple victims at a pro-Palestinian march.

“This was a terror attack,” the judge said, adding that the Metropolitan Police’s security arrangements around the Al-Quds Day rally had “saved many lives”.

“You were rapidly radicalised…by material put on the internet by those determined to spread hatred of Muslims.”

Sentencing Osborne to two concurrent life sentences with a minimum term of 43 years, minus the 224 days already served in custody, she said his lengthy criminal record betrayed a “belligerent and violent character”.

Osborne showed no emotion while being sentenced, but as he was led away told the court: “God bless you all, thank you.”

A jury had found the 48-year-old guilty of murder and attempted murder at the end of a nine-day trial, dismissing what the judge called a “pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them” by claiming a man called Dave was behind the wheel.

Woolwich Crown Court had heard how Makram Ali, a 51-year-old grandfather, had collapsed just two minutes before the atrocity shortly after midnight on 19 June.

A crowd of Muslim worshippers, several of them wearing traditional clothing, gathered around him to help and became an unwitting target for Osborne as he looped around Finsbury Park in search of a mosque.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Osborne has a criminal history spanning 30 years, which could not previously be disclosed because it could prejudice the jury.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said he had appeared in court for 33 times for 102 offences dating back to when he was just 15 years old.

He has served multiple prison sentences for crimes including assault and has also been convicted of drug possession, burglary, theft, fraud, vehicle crime, public order offences

Mr Rees said Osborne had eight years where he was “relatively trouble free” around the birth of his first child, but was later convicted for shoplifting and theft in South Wales.

Lisa Wilding QC, Osborne’s barrister, had urged the judge not to use a whole-life term warranted by his motivations.

“Although this case has been properly characterised as an act of terror, it’s arguably not the most grave of its type,” she told the court.

Ms Wilding highlighted the fact that Osborne was a functioning alcoholic with a troubled past, saying the previous convictions had no racial element and he ”became radicalised in a short period of time“.

Mr Ali’s relatives were in court for the sentencing hearing, where his wife, six children and two grandchildren told how they were unable to fully grieve until the end of the gruelling trial.

His eldest daughter, Ruzina Akhtar, said she had been “struggling not to fall apart” since the attack.

In a statement, she described how the family faced an agonising wait for Mr Ali’s death to be confirmed.

“In our hearts we knew it was him involved and that he was gone,” Ms Akhtar said. “My heart was shattered when I saw my father’s body in the morgue.”

She told how the family live near the scene of the attack and are traumatised from passing it on a daily basis, while her mother fears leaving the house or sleeping alone.

“My mum is scared of going out by herself and being attacked because she is visibly a Muslim and wears a headscarf,” she added.

Ms Akhtar paid tribute to her father as a “family man”, saying he spent his final moments before leaving the house on the night of his death with his wife and children, who are as young as 13.

He was beloved by her five-year-old son, who “is always asking where his granddad is and why he can’t go to the park with him every day” like they used to.

Ms Akhtar said her father was the most “sincere and warm person” she knew, who lived his life without enemies, adding: “My father will never be forgotten, he will always stay in our hearts, his laughter will echo from the walls in our home and his smile will be reflected in our eyes.”

Statements from the survivors of the attack told how they suffer from physical injuries as well as nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia and other effects of trauma have had a terrible impact on their personal lives and work.

They described chased Osborne down after he crashed the van and stumbled out of the driver’s seat, telling how he smiled and said: “I’ve done my job, you can kill me now.”

A note found in the vehicle – scribbled down in a pub the night before – showed Osborne raging against Muslims, grooming gangs, Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan and Lily Allen.

He denied charges of murder and attempted murder but submitted no statement in his defence until Friday – after hearing five days of evidence proving his guilt.

Police believe Osborne was radicalised in under a month, sparking calls for internet companies and the security services to combat extremist material even if it does not violate terror laws.
The Independent

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

A man who drove a van into a crowd of Muslims near a north London mosque has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 43 years behind bars.

Darren Osborne, 48, was found guilty of murdering Makram Ali, 51, after deliberately ploughing into a crowd of people in Finsbury Park in June.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said Osborne, from Cardiff, had planned “a suicide mission” and expected to be shot dead.

“This was a terrorist attack – you intended to kill,” the judge told him.

Osborne, who had been found guilty of murder and attempted murder, said “God bless you all, thank you”, as he was led away from court.

‘Malevolent hatred’

The father-of-four mowed down worshippers in Finsbury Park shortly after 12.15am on 19 June last year, killing Mr Ali and injuring nine others.

The jury took an hour to return the verdict at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday after a nine-day trial.

Justice Cheema-Grubb told Osborne the jury in his trial had seen though his “pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them”.

She said he was “rapidly radicalised over the internet by those determined to spread hatred of Muslims”.

“Your use of Twitter exposed you to racists and anti-Islamic ideology,” she added.

“In short, you allowed your mind to be poisoned by those who claimed to be leaders.”

Before sentencing, the court heard a statement from Razina Akhtar, the daughter of Mr Ali, who said she had suffered “recurring nightmares” since the death of her father.

“The incident was near to our house and I walk past it most days. It keeps me awake at night thinking about the attack.”

She said her mother, Mr Ali’s widow, was now scared to go outside by herself for fear of being attacked.

“My father was the most sincere and warmest person I know. He was full of jokes and laughter, and full of love for his family and grandchildren.

“His life was taken in a cruel way by a narrow-minded, heartless being,” the statement added.

Other witness suffered feelings of anxiety, flashbacks, fear of going out and loss of confidence, prosecutors said.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb also heard a list of Osborne’s previous convictions – including a string of violent offences – spanning more than 30 years.

Osborne had appeared before the courts on 33 occasions for 102 offences, she was told.

The judge said Osborne’s previous convictions showed he was a “belligerent and violent character”.

She said Mr Ali died immediately after being struck by the van. He was found with tyre marks on his torso, she added.

‘Obsessed’ with Muslims

The trial heard the victims had been outside the Muslim Welfare House, in Finsbury Park, when the area had been busy with worshippers attending Ramadan prayers.

Mr Ali had collapsed at the roadside in the minutes before the attack.

Police later found a letter in the van written by Osborne, referring to Muslim people as “rapists” and “feral”.

He also wrote that Muslim men were “preying on our children”.

Osborne, the trial heard, had became “obsessed” with Muslims in the weeks leading up to the attack, having watched the BBC drama Three Girls, about the Rochdale grooming scandal.

BBC News

Darren Osborne, who drove van into Muslims outside mosque, convicted of terrorist attack that killed Makram Ali

A man has been convicted of murder and attempted murder after driving a van into a group of Muslims near a north London mosque in a terrorist attack.

A jury concluded that Darren Osborne intended to kill as many Muslims as possible and had been “brainwashed” after gorging on extremist rightwing propaganda online.

A jury of eight women and four men took one hour to convict the father of four. Osborne, who had denied both charges, nodded in the dock as the verdict was read out but showed little emotion. He will be sentenced on Friday.

Police believe one catalyst for his three-week spiral into terrorism was a BBC drama about a Muslim grooming gang.

The attack last June left Makram Ali, 51, dead with a tyre mark across his chest and 12 others injured after the van Osborne was driving struck people in Finsbury Park.

Osborne, 48, was convicted after a trial at Woolwich crown court in south-east London. The case was prosecuted as a terrorist offence because Osborne’s actions were taken in order to advance a political purpose, a factor that will be taken into account when the sentence is decided.

In a defence that the prosecutor, Jonathan Rees QC, described as “absurd”, he had claimed “a guy called Dave”, who was not visible on any CCTV footage, had been driving the van while he changed his trousers in the footwell.

The jury was told by the prosecution that the act was terrorism driven by Osborne’s hatred of Muslims, which his partner said had developed rapidly in the weeks before the attack, leaving him “a ticking timebomb”.

One witness heard the van “accelerate and the noise of changing gears” as the engine revved, its impact leaving a scene of horror with a limb trapped under a wheel.

Two minutes before the attack, Ali had become ill and fallen to the ground 100 yards from his home. It was just after 12.15am and Muslims were thronging the streets after prayers at two nearby mosques to mark the festival of Ramadan.

The attack came after three Islamist terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. A note recovered from the van Osborne had driven down from Wales, where he lived, railed against Muslims, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The jury heard that after the attack, Osborne was saved by an imam, who protected him despite his attempt to run down Muslims. Osborne was seen to smile and say: “I’ve done my bit.”

Opening the case, Rees said Osborne was heard by witnesses to say: “I’ve done my job. You can kill me now.” The prosecutor said a witness claimed the attacker was “constantly smiling”.

Rees said Osborne was seen hitting out at people as he tried to escape the throng and said: “I want to kill more Muslims.”

Osborne’s partner, Sarah Andrews, told detectives that in the weeks before the attack, his attitude had changed after he watched Three Girls, a BBC TV drama about the Rochdale grooming scandal.

Andrews said in a witness statement that Osborne had become “obsessed” with Muslims and was an avid follower of social media postings by the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, as well as members of the far-right group Britain First.

The jury heard that the pair had watched Three Girls and, in a statement read to the court, Andrews said she believed Osborne had become angry “about seeing young girls exploited” and developed his fixation with Muslims from that point.

She said Osborne “seemed brainwashed” and had been watching content posted online by Robinson, leading him to seek out more extremist material.

Smartphones and computers showed Osborne had viewed material from Britain First, a group that “campaigns primarily against multiculturalism and what it sees as the Islamisisation of the UK”, Rees told the jury.

Osborne had not worked for a decade and had mental health problems. He tried to kill himself shortly before the attack.

Ali was a father of six children, four daughters and two sons, and had suffered from ill health.

The attack sent shockwaves through Muslim communities in Britain, and came as many noted increasing rhetorical attacks in the mainstream media and from politicians, alongside a rise in extreme rightwing violence. Counter-terrorism officials have also noted an increase in violent attacks.

Osborne was not known to police or MI5 for extremism before his lone-wolf attack.

His defence to the jury contradicted CCTV evidence and a statement his lawyers had submitted to the court on his behalf.

He told the jury that it was “sod’s law” that CCTV had not picked up the point along the route where his supposed co-conspirator Dave had got into the vehicle, adding that he had no idea where Dave had gone in the aftermath of the attack.

CCTV footage shows he was the only person to leave the van after the attack, and carried out reconnaissance by foot shortly beforehand, again on his own.

He wrote the note setting out his extremist views in a Cardiff pub, where CCTV footage and witnesses confirm he was on his own.

Following Osborne’s conviction Sue Hemming, from the CPS, said: “Darren Osborne planned and carried out this attack because of his hatred of Muslims.

“He later invented an unconvincing story to counter the overwhelming weight of evidence but the jury has convicted him. We have been clear throughout that this was a terrorist attack, and he must now face the consequences of his actions.”

The Guardian

Paul Hepplestall said he had suffered three ‘savage attacks’ in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened

A thug who made a racist video threatening to slash Muslims and blow up mosques in the wake of two UK terrorist attacks was today jailed.

Paul Hepplestall filmed himself posing with a sword and a plastic grenade hanging from his t-shirt during the explicit rant.

The hate video – recorded two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing and the day after the London Bridge attack – went viral.

The 40-year-old, of Cornwallis Street, Liverpool city centre, said: “This is a quick message to Muslims, p***s and terrorists, you can’t call yourself terrorists, cowards is what I want to call youse.

“Yeah, you run in with bombs strapped to use and blow yourself up, where there’s a bunch of innocent kids. There is nothing terrorising about that.

“Let me tell you, I will get people to run in your mosques with pineapples [a reference to grenades, prosecutors said], blow your mosques off this f***ing planet.

“Yeah, I will cut each one of your ears off with a sword, I will cut your fingers, your toes, I will cut you a thousand times until you bleed out.”

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said he recorded and uploaded the “horrific video” some time on June 4 and, within hours, police forces across the country were receiving complaints.

He said Hepplestall was “aggressive and blunt”, adding: “It was particularly provocative and rather appalling in nature.”

Muslim parents in Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Scotland and as far away as Yemen told Liverpool Crown Court they feared for their safety.

Hepplestall went on to make two more short videos, claiming the first one had just been a joke and saying he had friends in the ethnic community.

But Mr Parry-Jones said: “It was not considered to be a joke, because of the chilling nature.”

Police identified him but, before he was found, he handed himself in on June 5 and told officers: “I’m not a bad person, it was a bad massive mistake.”

Hepplestall was accused of using racially-aggravated, threatening language and threatening to destroy or damage property.

He said Hepplestall, who knew someone at the concert and had been drunk, tried to “redress the balance” after being “completely moronic”.

Mr Morgan said he had suffered three “savage attacks” in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened.

Jailing him for 20 months, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “On the 22nd of May of this year, a number of innocent people were killed and injured at the Manchester Arena due to the actions of a suicide bomber.

“Manchester and the rest of the country were appalled by this atrocity. But Manchester’s response was to kick back at the fear and hatred intended by this act, and (come) together.

“Those of any faith or no faith stood shoulder-to-shoulder in condemning the act and supporting each other. It was a community brought together.

“A second terror attack occurred on the 3rd of June. This time in London but, again, the reaction was one that people can rightly be proud.

“People looked for a commonality, shared interests, provided support, and as one voice condemned the action.

“You recorded yourself on your phone, and uploaded that message to the internet. The message was threatening, frightening and full of racial bile. That message went viral.”

Judge Nicholls said his video caused “fear, anger and distress” to Muslims across the world.

She said: “They all believed you capable of carrying out the atrocities that you speak of.

“Many have children and describe their fear that they and their children may be attacked as they go about their everyday business.

“And, although it was obvious to them that you came from Liverpool, all were concerned as to the demons you may unleash in others.

“This video is offensive and obscene to any right-minded person, regardless of their belief system. It is unacceptable, not only because it is contrary to the law, but it is contrary to the standard we expect from anyone who lives in a civilised community.

“Your recording did exactly what the terrorist, that you purported to condemn, aimed to do – you spread the word of hatred, dissent and caused significant fear amid the community at large.”

The judge said the offence was “possibly the worse example of its kind”.

She added: “One would have hoped that hatred based on someone’s religious beliefs was something that we left behind centuries ago. Your words and recording are abhorrent to all civilised individuals.”

Liverpool Echo

The men are being sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today

Two men have pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated hate crimes after pork was smeared on the door of a mosque.

CCTV footage showed 28-year-old Jamie Mullins urinating on the outside of Five Ways Centre in Sherwood, which is used for Islamic prayer, while wearing a football shirt, drinking from a can of beer and carrying a St George’s flag.

He then smeared the pork sausage meat on the mosque.

Mullins admitted two charges – one of racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, and one of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage .

Mathew Sarsfield, of Daybrook, said he felt “ashamed” after watching the CCTV, and admitted one charge of causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

The court sent away Mullins, of Palmerston Gardens, St Ann’s, for a report to be made, with sentencing expected this afternoon, but Sarsfield was given fines totalling £230, and branded an “idiot” by presiding magistrate Paul Ensor at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court .

Jamie Mullins leaving Nottingham Magistrates' Court

Jamie Mullins leaving Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Neil Fawcett, prosecuting, said the crimes happened in the aftermath of the “horrific events in London, including the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque, so that was playing on the mind of Dr Mughal, who was inside the mosque”.

In the early hours of June 18, during Ramadan, the pair had been watching a boxing match, and said in a police interview that they were “feeling patriotic”.

A worshipper leaving the mosque before the meat was smeared noticed two men loitering, and was so concerned that he watched the CCTV on his phone. He contacted Dr Nughal, who was still inside the mosque, who then called 999.

The court heard that Sarsfield, who was representing himself, played a lesser part in the events.

Mr Ensor said: “You’re an idiot, if you had walked away you would not be here, if you had taken control and said (to Mullins) ‘what do you think you’re doing’ then that would have been fine.

“But you stood there and were complicit in his actions. You did next to nothing other than be there and take a selfie.

Mathew Sarsfield leaving Nottingham Magistrates' Court

Mathew Sarsfield leaving Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

“There’s nothing we can hang you out to dry for, other than being an idiot.”

When asked by the magistrate how he intended to pay the fine, Sarsfield said: “I’m going to ask my dad.”

He then motioned at his father, who was in the public gallery.

The magistrate then said: “I know what I would be saying if I was your dad, and it would not be ‘here you go son’.

Speaking to Sarsfield, the magistrate then said: “You have children, so think about how, as a father, you would feel watching your children behaving in that manner. Ask yourself how you would feel.”

The court also heard that Sarsfield’s Facebook account was searched by police in the investigation into the crime.

Mr Fawcett said Sarsfield had shared posts from groups including the English Defence League, including lines such as “It’s not racist to love your people”, “Islam is on the rise, time to kick it back to the stone ages where it came from before it’s too late,” and “This isn’t immigration it’s an invasion”.

Nottingham Post

Giulio Vines “didn’t like the way he was treated” by worshippers at Omar Faruque Mosque who told him to be quiet

A motorcyclist threw bacon on vehicles outside a mosque because he didn’t like the way he was told to be quiet by worshippers.

Giulio Vines, from Milton Road, Cambridge was riding around outside with friends near Omar Faruque Mosque in Kirkwood Road in June when someone came out to speak to them.

At Cambridge Magistrates’ Court today (July 11) Sandra Dyer, prosecuting, said: “Some people came out of the mosque and asked him to be quiet. He didn’t like the way he was treated.”

A few days later on June 8, Vines and his friends returned around 11.15pm. Vines had brought a pack of bacon from home.

When worshippers praying during Ramadan left the mosque around 12.15am the next day, four cars were found with bacon on them.

A Suzuki Bandit was caught on CCTV near the scene, which was then traced back to Vines.

Ms Dyer said Vines claimed he had “nothing against Muslims” but that he “accepted bacon was offensive to Muslims”.

The prosecutor told the court the words of a worshipper, who said: “I feel I have been targeted because of my faith. I am a peaceful, law-abiding person who went to the mosque for prayer.”

Monica Lentin, defending, said: “Initially my client and his friends had gone out on their motorbikes in the vicinity of the mosque. They rode their bikes up and down. They didn’t go out looking for any trouble.

“I think it’s accepted by people in the mosque that somebody came out. He [Vines] didn’t realise it was Ramadan.

“He said someone came out of the mosque and was actually aggressive to him. He just felt upset at the way he was spoken to.”

“He knew what he was doing but he didn’t fully appreciate the hurt and upset of the people whose cars he threw the bacon at,” said Ms Lentin.

She added: “It was kids making noise, being told off and my client taking exception.”

Vines admitted a charge of racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage. A further charge of criminal damage was dropped.

The court heard that Vines later went to speak with two people from Omar Faruque Mosque, which the defence described as “an extremely constructive and very helpful discussion”.

Ms Lentin said: “They accepted my client didn’t intend to cause the harm he has. My client doesn’t have and has not been brought up to have any hatred of anyone based on their colour, creed or anything else.”

She told the court Vines was “a good worker” and that he had come “top of the class” in his apprenticeship.

Ms Lentin said: “I invite you and your colleagues to consider dealing with this in such a way that will enable him to continue to do what he has been doing.”

The bench told Vines: “We accept the defence’s version of events. It wasn’t hate crime. We believe this was an act of immaturity.

“We have heard that you have made contact with the victims who have shown compassion towards yourself.”

Vines received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £85 in costs, £25 compensation to each victim and a victim surcharge of £20.

Cambridge News