‘Possessed’ man stabbed faith healer to death at Whitechapel ‘black magic’ therapy centre

The attacker was caught at the Tower of London where he tried to jump into a moat (Photo: Richard He

The attacker was caught at the Tower of London where he tried to jump into a moat (Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

A man who believed he was possessed by evil spirits when he stabbed a faith healer to death at a therapy centre in London’s East End which claims to treat ‘black magic’ has been detained in a mental hospital.

Killer Ashfaq Choudhry was arrested at the Tower of London when he tried to jump into the moat, soon after attacking father-of-three Zakariyya Islam in September.

The 43-year-old dentist confessed to officers and members of the public who had restrained him that he had stabbed someone.

It turned out that Choudhry had knifed 45-year-old Mr Islam in the stomach and heart at Whitechapel’s Ruqya centre in Greatorex Street on September 14. Mr Islam died 30 minutes later.

Choudhry, from Watford, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The father-of-two was suffering severe mental illness affecting his judgement and self-control.

He had become disillusioned with the medication he was on, so he explored alternative therapies, the court heard.

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The Ruqya centre provides Islamic treatment for black magic, evil eye and evil spirit possession, according to its website.

Choudhry visited Mr Islam at the centre three weeks before he stabbed him and said he was told he was possessed by spirits, believing somebody had put “evil spirits” into him.

Mr Islam’s relatives wiped away tears as a statement was read in court on behalf of his wife Roma which told of the “unimaginable emptiness” she felt at his death.

The judge described Zakariyya Islam as “an outstanding individual” doing what he genuinely thought was best to alleviate Choudhry’s symptoms.

Choudhry was given a hospital order under the Mental Health Act, without a time limit.