The Finsbury Park terror suspect had split from his partner, was unemployed and living in a tent in the weeks before he allegedly carried out the attack, according to reports.
Dad-of-four Darren Osborne, 47, has been identified as the alleged driver who ploughed through Muslim worshippers in the early hours of Monday night.
One man died and eight others are being treated in hospital.
Counter terrorism cops are investigating.
Locals in Osborne’s home in Lisvane, a leafy suburb between Cardiff and Newport in South Wales, Osborne’s life has been on a downward spiral for some time.
He had split from partner Sarah Andrews, 42, a chef at a pub and mother to their four children.
Peter Mackuin, 53 told The Sun: “Around two weeks ago I saw him and he was a right state.
“He looked like he’d been crying. Something was definitely wrong.
“His missus had been out looking for him as he had been gone all day after a blazing row.
“I saw him wandering out of the woods.”
Osborne, who is an unemployed mechanic, was known to be a heavy drinker who could ‘flip’ at any moment.
He allegedly insulted his Muslim neighbour’s 12-year-old child at the weekend, calling him “in-bred” as he played on his bike.
Hours later, Osborne is alleged to have driven a rented van 160 miles to north London and into a crowd near two mosques in Finsbury Park.
His mother Christine described him as “disturbed” and claimed he had been on “medication”.
His nephew Ellis Osborne, 26, said his uncle was “not a racist” and had never expressed any racist views.
Osborne’s family has issued a statement offering their sympathy for the victims of the attack.
The nephew said: “We are massively shocked; it’s unbelievable, it still hasn’t really sunk in.
“We are devastated for the families; our hearts go out to the people who have been injured.
“Its madness. It is obviously sheer madness.”
According to public records, Osborne was born in Singapore in 1969.
Osborne’s sister Nicola Osborne, 50, revealed the attack happened hours after her birthday.
Speaking from the family home, a terraced house in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, she said: “He’s not interested in terrorism.
“I’m older than him. It was my birthday last night.”
A neighbour living near his mother, who did not want to be named, claimed Osborne led a “privileged life”.
“Christine is a great grandmother – Darren’s nephew stays a lot,” they said. “Darren’s not had a bad life.
“He’s had quite a privileged life. He’s had more options than a lot of people.”
Osborne’s Muslim neighbour, Khadijh Sherazi couldn’t believe it when she heard about what had happened.
Mrs Sherizi said: “I saw him on the news and I thought ‘oh my God’ that is my neighbour.
“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.”