Few described him as frightening

More from the Times on Darren Osborne.

He had family problems and was known by locals as belligerent and aggressive, with a drinking problem. He had Muslim neighbors, who described his behavior as fairly unremarkable, and his children had Muslim friends.

No one on the cul-de-sac in Cardiff, Wales, where Darren Osborne, 47, lived could readily explain what he is believed to have done: rented a van, driven it 150 miles to London and plowed into a crowd of Muslims as they finished prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque early Monday.

Numerous residents here said that Mr. Osborne was often agitated, even disturbed, but few described him as frightening and none said he had expressed political sentiments, much less anti-Muslim or far-right ones — until last weekend, when he was kicked out of a local pub, the Hollybush, after a drunken tirade.

“My son was at the pub on Saturday night and said he got kicked out because he was scribbling all over the tables and shouting racist comments about Pakistanis and Muslims,” a resident, Ross Johnson, said Tuesday outside the pub.

So the next day he headed for Finsbury Park.

Several residents in and around Glyn Rhosyn, the street where Mr. Osborne lived in a semidetached two-story house, said he at times seemed disturbed and volatile.

Chris Peter, a car mechanic, said that he used to work with Mr. Osborne but that he had found Mr. Osborne to be “unreliable” and “erratic.”

“You just didn’t know what you’re going to get with Darren,” Mr. Peter said. “One minute he’s fine, the next he’s drunk, cursing and vile. He was a nut job.”

It’s odd that few people said he was frightening then. I find that kind of thing very frightening, because it seems to be on the edge of violence.

Mr. Peter added: “I stopped working with him because he had anger problems. One day, he came in stinking of booze and sweat and started shouting his mouth off, throwing tools. I haven’t seen him in a while, but my mate said he’s been sleeping out in the woods in a tent because his lady kicked him out the house.”

Jennifer Mears, who lived a few houses away from Mr. Osborne, said she considered him scary.

“My husband and I called him the ‘mad man,’ ” she said. “He would always zoom up and down the road in various cars that he would bring here. I think he bought and sold lots of cars, and it was annoying that he would park them all down the street.”

One resident described a time when Mr. Osborne had shouted at his family and thrown things around his garden.

“He threw a plastic swing, and it went over the fence and almost hit his neighbor,” said the resident, Laura Granger, who witnessed the episode. “When they complained about it, he swore at them and then went inside and started shouting at his children.”

She added: “We heard him scream at his wife, and he said, ‘Don’t make me get the cricket bat.’ ”

Frightening. Definitely frightening.

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