Killer of Finsbury Park Imam judged insane and sent to mental hospital indefinitely

The schizophrenic who strangled the blind Imam of a Finsbury Park mosque claiming he was the “anti-Christ” was found to be insane this morning.

Hamza Boutouil, 25, also known as Aissa Menasria, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has been sent to a mental hospital indefinitely.

Boutouil inflicted a savage beating on 39-year-old Sheikh Maymoun Zazour before strangling him to death with an ornamental cord at the Muslim Welfare House, in Seven Sisters Road, 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 at the Old bailey.

Judge Paul Worsley QC made an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act 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 getting into altercations with a man and then two girls, as well as picking up a pigeon in the hours leading up to the attack.

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.

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Jonathon Turner QC, 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.”