UK mosque attacker wants prison so he can learn Quran ‘from start to finish’
A Muslim convert who stabbed a prayer leader in the neck in front of horrified worshippers in a London Mosque has asked for a prison sentence so he can learn the Quran “from start to finish.”
Daniel Horton, 30, admitted grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article after stabbing Raafat Maglad, 70, as he held prayers at the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.
Islamic elder Mr Maglad is left unable to feed himself with his right arm alone and is scared to stand in front of his congregation for fear of a repeat attack, a court heard today.
Footage taken moments before the stabbing shows a man in a red hoodie kneeling on the floor and “praying strangely” at the front of the beautiful prayer hall.
Police found a blood stained prayer mat at the mosque along with a knife on the carpet which Horton used to carry out the stabbing on February 20 this year.
Horton, of no fixed abode, was supposed to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today.
But the ruling was delayed pending further clarification on psychological reports after Horton asked his lawyer to be sent to jail where he could learn the Quran and not a hospital order.
Mr Sam Blom-Cooper, in mitigation, said: “Mr Horton has been clear in the limited interactions I have had with him that he wants to be sentenced, that he wants to be punished for the harm that he has done.”
He added: “Mr Horton wants a prison sentence. He does not want a hospital order.
“He wants to learn the Quran off by heart. He wants to learn the Quran from start to finish.”
Benn Maguire, prosecuting, told the court how the attack has shattered the sanctity of the mosque which should have been a safe haven for worshippers.
He said: “This should have been a spiritual haven of worship.
“Mr Horton’s attack on an innocent man shattered the sanctity of this place.”
A fellow worshipper grabbed Horton and held him back after he stabbed Mr Maglad at the mosque during prayer time.
The attacker was detained by those at the mosque before police arrived.
Horrified worshippers emptied out onto the streets following the bloody attack when the mosque was evacuated.
The court heard the wound measured 2cm by 4cm and that Mr Magdal is still undergoing physiotherapy due to the damage caused.
It was said he suffers from anxiety, stiffness in his shoulder, is less able to exercise and has less movement in one of his arms.
The court heard cannot raise a spoon to his mouth with his right arm without the assistance of his left.
Mr Maguire said: “He is less confident in standing in front of the prayer hall with the congregation behind him as he is scared that he might be attacked.”
Speaking after the stabbing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” by the attack, echoing comments made by Mr Maglad himself.
The court heard Horton has a string of previous convictions over several years including domestic abuse, possession of a firearm and assaulting a police officer.
Psychological reports show he had a history of serious psychiatric illnesses including paranoid schizophrenia and suggested a hospital order sentence.
But Horton told his lawyer he instead wanted to be punished with a prison sentence when he could “learn the Quran from start to finish.”
His next hearing will take place on December 10, pending further clarification on psychiatric reports regarding his state of mind.
Previous convictions include two counts of assaulting a police officer and a separate conviction of wounding when Horton stabbed a friend following an argument.
In April 2006, Horton threw a brick through his friend’s window. The pair argued when Horton grabbed his friend by the neck, threw him to the floor and stabbed him in the leg.
In October 2009, Horton was convicted of affray and possessing a weapon in a public place.
In July 2009, police attended an incident of domestic violence when Horton threatened his girlfriend with a knife then attacked a police officer and broke his hand.
Mr Maguire said: “Mr Horton brandished a large kitchen knife towards police in a threatening manner and had to be restrained.”
In August 2011, he was convicted for another count of domestic violence. When police arrived, Horton spat in the face of two police officers and shouted that he had HIV.
In December 2012, he was convicted for possessing firearms with intent after going to collect documents at a hostel where he was previously staying.
Mr Maguire said: “When asked to come back another time, Mr Horton took a handgun from his waistband. He threatened to shoot.”
Horton was also convicted of harassment for sending threatening messages to his ex girlfriend when he threatened to burn her house down.
In 2016, he was convicted of possession of a knife or bladed article after a member of the public contacted police.