Muslim convert who stabbed prayer leader at London Mosque begs for jail so he can learn Qu'ran 'from start to finish'

A MUSLIM convert who knifed a prayer leader at a London mosque has begged for a jail sentence – so he can learn the Qu'ran from start to finish.

Daniel Horton, 30, stabbed Raafat Maglad, 70, as the victim held prayers at the London Central Mosque in Regent's Park.

But now Horton, who has admitted the attack, has asked to be sent to prison rather than a psychiatric hospital so he can read the Islamic holy book.

The defendant's sentencing hearing – due to take place today – has now been adjourned so a judge can consider the request.

Mr Maglad was left struggling to feed himself and is scared to stand in front of his congregation after the shocking assault, the court heard.

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 bloodstained prayer mat at the mosque – along with the knife used by Horton during the stabbing on February 20 this year.

The defendant, who is of no fixed abode, was due to appear at Southwark Crown Court today to learn his fate.

But the ruling was delayed for further psychological reports after Horton asked his lawyer to be sent to jail, rather than be made the subject of a hospital order.

Barrister Sam Blom-Cooper, mitigating, 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.

"Mr Horton wants a prison sentence. He does not want a hospital order.

"He wants to learn the Qu'ran off by heart.

"He wants to learn the Qu'ran from start to finish."

Benn Maguire, prosecuting, told the court of the impact the attack has had on 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."

After Horton launched his attack, another visitor to the mosque grabbed him and held him back.

The attacker was detained by those at the mosque before police arrived.

The court heard Horton has a string of previous convictions over several years, including for domestic abuse, possession of a firearm and assaulting a police officer.

Psychological reports show he has a history of serious psychiatric illnesses including paranoid schizophrenia. Medics have suggested a hospital order sentence.

Horton, who admits wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon, will next appear in court on December 10.

Speaking after the stabbing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "deeply saddened" by the attack.

Speaking after the shocking incident, Mr Magland said he was on friendly terms with his attacker.

He said: “He is a regular, he would come to the masjid but he was very quiet.

"Never did he show this aggression. I don’t know why he picked on me. This was just my fate.

"I felt very sorry for him to be honest."

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