Muslim convert who stabbed mosque prayer leader jailed for seven years

Muslim convert, 30, who stabbed prayer leader in the neck at London mosque is jailed for seven years after asking to be sent to prison so he could learn the Quran ‘from start to finish’

  • Daniel Horton admitted stabbing Raafat Maglad in front of shocked worshippers
  • Horton slashed Mr Maglad in the neck at London Central Mosque on February 20
  • The 30-year-old suffers with paranoid schizophrenia but requested prison order
  • Mr Maglad, 70, says he still suffers with injury and struggles to perform his role
  • Horton jailed for seven years after admitting one count of wounding with intent 

A knifeman who stabbed a 70-year-old Muslim prayer leader at one of Britain’s biggest mosques was jailed for more than seven years today.

Daniel Horton, 30, slashed muezzin Raafat Maglad in the neck at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, northwest London on February 20.

Horrified worshippers rushed to pin down the attacker while Mr Maglad received first aid and an ambulance was called.

Daniel Horton, 30, admitted stabbing 70-year-old prayer leader Raafat Maglad at London Central Mosque and has been jailed for seven years for one count of wounding with intent

Others spilled into the street as the mosque was evacuated in the aftermath of the attack. 

The father-of-three, who leads the call to prayer five times a day, returned to the mosque less than 24 hours after the attack following hospital treatment for a 1.5cm knife wound.

Speaking after the stabbing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the attack, echoing comments made by Mr Maglad himself. 

Mr Maglad was a prayer caller at the funeral of Dodi Fayed, who was killed with Diana, Princess of Wales, in the 1997 Paris car crash.

He still suffers from pain and sickness and finds it difficult to ‘raise a spoon to his mouth’, Southwark Crown Court heard.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Maglad said he has had over ten medical appointments for the injuries to his arm and shoulder and was facing shoulder surgery.

The court heard today that Mr Maglad (pictured in February), an Islamic elder, has been 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

The court heard Horton had a string of previous convictions, including two counts of assaulting a police officer and a separate conviction of wounding when he stabbed a friend. Pictured: Mr Maglad after the attack in hospital and visiting the Mosque while still recovering

In addition, the brutal attack damaged his vocal chords and affected his voice.

‘My role at the mosque involves calling the prayer which is effectively singing.

‘My voice is less strong since the incident and I can no longer fully perform the role,’ said Mr Maglad.

‘I have been side-lined at the mosque because I can no longer perform the role appropriately.’

The muezzin said his door used to be ‘always open’ for worshippers but he now felt ‘fearful’ and only saw people by appointment.

‘My memory of what happened is always at the back of my mind like a nightmare,’ he said.

‘This has affected my ability to pray properly and has affected by religious practice.’

Pictured: A man points to a knife on the floor following the incident at the Regent’s Park Mosque (left) while (right) Horton was detained on scene after he stabbed Mr Maglad

Defending, Sam Blom-Cooper said: ‘He is someone that suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He has had episodes dating back to 2011.

‘It is quite plain that he is quite fed up with the continuous psychiatric prodding and poking.

‘The instructions that I have are that he wants a prison order – he does not want a hospital order.

‘He wants to be sentenced, he wants to be punished for the harm that he has done.

‘He just wants to get on with it.’

Describing the attack the barrister added: ‘There was no attempt to carry out a frenzied attack. There was a single blow.

Psychological reports show Horton had a history of serious psychiatric illnesses such as paranoid schizophrenia and a hospital order sentence was suggested but he requested jail time instead. Pictured: A knife on the floor of the prayer hall where the stabbing took place

Pictured: The knife at the scene. Mr Maglad suffered a 1.5cm stab wound and told court he had since had 10 hospital appointments in relation to his injury which he is still recovering from

‘The motivation for the offence is not known. There was plainly something in the mind of Mr Horton that made him feel as though he had to lash out.’

He said the victim’s swift recovery showed the attack falls ‘within the lower category.’

‘He was discharged after four hours from hospital,’ Mr Cooper added.

Judge Deborah Taylor said despite Horton’s mental health issues the attack was clearly inspired by ‘anger’ against the prayer leader.

‘It is a particularly aggravating feature of this because you chose to to commit the attack in a holy place during a religious service, stabbing a muezzin in the neck,’ said the judge.

Muslim convert Horton, who had previously asked the judge to jail him so he could ‘learn the Koran by heart’ refused to leave his cell for his sentencing today.

Police outside London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park following the stabbing on February 20

Horton, of no fixed address, had attended the mosque over a number of years and was known to the victim.

On his arrest, he told officers that he didn’t intend to kill Mr Maglad but wanted to ‘send a message’ to him.

Horton, of no fixed address, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possessing a kitchen knife.

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.

A worshipper grabbed Horton after the stabbing at the mosque during prayer time and the attacker was detained by people at the scene before police arrived (pictured)

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.

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.

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.

For his latest offence, he was jailed for seven years and three months, with an additional four years on licence.

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