The men accused of attacking Kingston Mosque told police they had come to the town for a peaceful protest against extremist Islam.

The attack came hours after a peaceful English Defence League (EDL) rally in Kingston.

In the five police interviews read or played to the court so far, each of the men were asked whether they had attacked the mosque.

Terry Earl, arrested walking away from East Road, said he got detached from his friend, followed a group out of the King’s Tun pub up Richmond Road thinking they were going to the station before seeing “carnage”, the court heard.

He said: “I just saw things happening. I was taken in by it all. Your body just freezes and you don’t know what happened.

“I can’t believe that was a mosque.”

David Morris, arrested in Seven Kings Road, told police he had stood on the opposite side of the road to the mosque with a friend but walked off when others started throwing stones, shouting and throwing food.

He said: “I was there when it kicked off but I didn’t do nothing. I was just like looking on. It ain’t right, is it really?

“You can’t really do that to people but those people were obviously pissed off.

“I know right from wrong. That’s why I didn’t start throwing any bottles or anything because there may be women and children there.”

Adam Khalfan, also arrested on the day with a checked scarf in his hand, initially denied being outside of the mosque, but later said: “I was there. I didn’t do nothing though. Check your CCTV.”

Karl Matthews, arrested at his home, would not answer any police questions beyond a prepared statement, which denied using or threatening to use violence.

It said: “I did not go armed with any weapons and didn’t intend to cause damage.”

Paul Abley, arrested on December 7 at his home, initially refused to answer questions about the attack saying: “I don’t want to slip on my words... I haven’t seen nothing.”

The trial continues.