A driver named Dave who vanished after ploughing into a group of worshippers in Finsbury Park was like the magician Dynamo, the man accused of the attack has claimed.
Darren Osborne, of Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, is alleged to have deliberately mown down Muslims outside two mosques in north London using a van, shortly after 12.15am on June 19 last year.
The 48-year-old has told jurors he had plotted with two men called Terry and Dave to “plough through as many” people as possible at a pro-Palestinian march in central London the day before.
Osborne agreed that the man driving the van as it made a U-turn before the attack looked like him on CCTV, but that on the way back along Seven Sisters Road, under the railway bridge, Dave had jumped in the van and got in the footwell, before switching with him.
He denied knowing Dave was planning to plough into pedestrians using the van, saying he thought they were going to go to the pub for a chat.
Terry was not in the van, Osborne said, because he was already at the pub to get the drinks in for them.
He said he had not been able to identify from the CCTV images played to the court the point at which Dave had got in, saying it was “sod’s law” that the cameras had not picked it up.
The court has previously been told that CCTV cameras covered the whole of his journey except for a period of four seconds, when the vehicle was moving at a pace down Isledon Road.
Osborne was asked by Jonathan Rees QC how he could explain why he was the only person seen on CCTV getting out of the van after the collision.
Mr Rees said: “And Dave may be a funny fella, but he is not a magician is he?”
Osborne replied: “He’s like Dynamo, an illusion. An illusionist. He can make himself vanish perhaps. I don’t know.”
Mr Rees said: “All this business about first Dave hiding himself down and then you a little later, all this is all made up isn’t it?
“No it’s not,” Osborne countered.
Osborne denies the murder of Makram Ali, 51, and the attempted murder of “persons at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, London”.
Mr Rees asked Osborne why he, Dave and Terry had decided to go for a drink rather than take further action when the plan to target the Al Quds March did not come off, as Osborne claims.
Osborne replied: “Dave said it’s potato, potato.”
He added: “Potato, potato, tomato, tomato, let’s call the whole thing off.”
“What did you understand him to mean by that?,” asked Mr Rees.
“That there wasn’t going to be any protests or any attacks.”
He went on: “There wasn’t going to be a sufficient target.
“I wasn’t interested just in getting one or two – if I was going to do it I was going to do it proper, cause as much damage as possible.”