A jobless man who sparked an armed police raid on the Regent’s Park mosque has been found guilty of manslaughter.
Kamal Hussain, 22, and Yosef Ahmed, 18, ran into the Central London Mosque to evade police after 25-year-old Zahir Visiter was fatally stabbed in nearby Cunningham Place in the early evening of March 28.
Following an Old Bailey trial, Hussain was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter while he co-defendant was acquitted of both offences.
The trial had heard how the pair were chased by two plain-clothes officers down the canal by the Lisson Green estate after the stabbing.
They then disappeared in the golden domed mosque, which accommodates more than 5,000 worshippers.
Jurors at the Old Bailey saw CCTV footage of the pair as they took refuge and changed out of their distinctive hoodies.
They were spoken to by police as the mosque was stormed by officers, but were let go because their descriptions did not match, the court was told.
The defendants, from north-west London, were arrested together at the same address on April 3.
The prosecution claimed the attack on Mr Visiter was “pre-planned”, although the motive remained unclear.
Giving evidence, Hussain claimed the victim had asked him what he was doing on his estate, then pulled a lock knife.
He lunged at him with the blade before the defendant wrestled it out of his hand, Hussain had said.
Hussain admitted stabbing Mr Visiter four times, but said it was an accident and he acted in self defence.
His friend Ahmed told jurors he saw something of what happened but denied being involved.
Both men said they ran away in the direction of the mosque because they “panicked”.
A jury deliberated for just under 18 hours to convict Hussain, but find Ahmed not guilty.
Hussain was remanded into custody to be sentenced by Judge Mark Dennis QC on November 15.
Detective Sergeant Gary Royal, of Scotland Yard, said: “What exactly led to this brutal stabbing may never be known for sure.
“It appears that money that Zahir had with him was missing, but whether his death was motivated by robbery or some other cause may never be known.
“What can be said is that this appears to have been a planned and brutal attack and the wounds to Zahir were found to have been delivered with considerable force.
“I would like to thank all those who came to Zahir’s aid and all those who cooperated with the investigation.
“I hope that today’s verdicts bring some closure to Zahir’s family who have been deeply traumatised by his loss.”