December 5 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Friday, June 8, 2012
The schizophrenic who strangled the blind Imam of a Finsbury Park mosque claiming he was the “anti-Christ” is legally insane, a court has ruled.
Hamza Boutouil, 25, also known as Aissa Menasria, was found not guilty of manslaughter by an Old Bailey jury and was sent to a mental hospital indefinitely.
Boutouil savagely beat 39-year-old Sheikh Maymoun Zazour before strangling him to death with an ornamental cord at the Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road, beside Finsbury Park station, last September.
The Algerian national has never denied the killing, and following a three-day trial, he was judged unfit to plead by a jury.
Judge Paul Worsley QC made an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act on Friday, June 1, and told Boutouil: “This death, as I’m sure you will accept, was a tragedy for his family and congregation. He was a popular and caring pastor.”
Earlier, the court saw CCTV footage of Boutouil in altercations with a man and then two girls.
In morning prayers at the Muslim Welfare House he shocked fellow worshippers by reading loudly from the Koran before he went to Mr Zazour’s room.
Jonathon Turner, prosecuting, said: “They were in there together for about an hour, during which time the Imam was killed.”
The post-mortem said the cause of death was strangulation and found a head injury and wounds consistent with a “violent struggle”, the jury was told.
After the attack, Boutouil tried to gain access to the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque. When he couldn’t get in he returned to the scene of the crime and started “raving”.
Mr Turner said: “Among the things he was saying, which bystanders translated from Arabic so the police could understand, was that he had killed the anti-Christ – and by that he meant the Imam – and that this was judgement day.”