Schoolboy Yousef Makki was unlawfully killed after stabbing in Hale Barns, second inquest rules

  • ITV Granada Reports reporter Anna Youssef was in court for the conclusion

A schoolboy who was stabbed to death by a friend was killed unlawfully a coroner has found - overturning an original inquest.

Yousef Makki died after being stabbed in the heart by his friend Joshua Molnar in Hale Barns, near Altrincham, on 2 March 2019.

During a trial, which took place three months after the incident, Molnar claimed self-defence and was cleared of murder and manslaughter of the grammar schoolboy.

Joshua Molnar was cleared of murder and manslaughter after a trial in 2019. Credit: PA Images

At an original inquest, in November 2021, a coroner ruled out both unlawful killing and accidental death as reasons for Yousef’s death, concluding she could not be sure what happened.

But his family, from Burnage in Manchester, brought a judicial review in 2022 challenging the finding there was insufficient evidence on the "central issue" of whether the killing was unlawful.

A second inquest into the 17-year-old's death was later ordered after the High Court quashed the original inquest findings.

Giving his findings at Stockport Coroner's Court, Coroner Geraint Williams said Mr Molnar was not acting in lawful self defence, adding "what he did amounts to manslaughter."

In a lengthy ruling, he concluded Yousef did not have a knife at the time of his death as claimed, and Molnar had not acted in self-defence and did not believe he needed to use a knife to defend himself.

“I find as a fact Yousef Makki did not use a knife to threaten or attack Joshua Molnar," Mr Williams said.

“I also find use of a knife unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable. I conclude he did not act in lawful self-defence.

“Therefore, I conclude that Mr Makki was unlawfully killed is fully made out by the evidence.”

He added the evidence did not show Molnar intended to kill or cause serious harm to Yousef and that it does not amount to murder.

Yousef Makki died after being stabbed in the heart.

There were audible gasps and emotional scenes in court as the conclusion was delivered, Yousef's sister Jade broke down in tears.

Lawyers for Yousef’s family said: "This has been a very long journey for the family. Nothing will bring Yousef back."

It is believed the Crown Prosecution Service and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) will now look at all the evidence again following the unlawful killing conclusion.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jonathan Chadwick, of GMP, said: "We note the verdict delivered by the Coroner at Yousef's inquest.

"Our thoughts remain with Yousef’s family and we will continue to support them in any way that we can.

“We do not underestimate the impact his death has had on his loved ones and the trauma of ongoing proceedings, four and a half years on. We understand that no outcome will bring Yousef back or lessen their heartbreak.

"Greater Manchester Police will now carefully review the ruling in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service before considering further steps."

Adam Chowdhary gives evidence at the second inquest into death of Yousef Makki. Credit: ITV News

The second inquest heard of many "discrepancies" in how the stabbing happened.

Molnar told the jury at his trial that the two had had a row and that Yousef had pulled a flick knife out first so he took his out and his friend "came on" to his weapon, causing the fatal injury.

Another youth, Adam Chowdhary, was with the pair at the time. He said he did not see what happened because he was on his phone.

Chowdhary had bought both flick knives online.

Yousef became friends with the pair, both from wealthy Cheshire families, after winning a scholarship to £12,000-a-year Manchester Grammar School. All three were aged 17 at the time.

Lawyers for Yousef's family told the inquest the only evidence he had brandished a knife came from Molnar.

Lisa Judge, representing Molnar, said he had admitted panicking and telling lies to police after the stabbing - and had been jailed for that.

But she said any inconsistencies resulted from trauma and "fracturing memories" and maintains he acted in self-defence.

Peter Weatherby KC, representing the Makki family, said they believed Molnar is lying and suggested Yousef did not have, or brandish, a knife.

The scene in Hale Barns where Yousef Makki was stabbed in March 2019. Credit: PA Images

Mr Weatherby highlighted the differing accounts of what happened given at various times by Molnar.

Molnar's trial heard Yousef's death was "an accident waiting to happen", he and Chowdhary being "rich kids who have never had to live in the real world".

Calling each other "Bro" and "Fam" they were acting out "idiotic fantasies" at being "middle class gangsters" by messing around with knives, smoking cannabis and listening to drill music, the jury was told.

Molnar, now aged 22, was jailed for 16 months for carrying a knife in public and perverting the course of justice after initially lying to police at the scene about what had happened.

Chowdhary, now aged 21, did not give evidence at Molnar's murder trial.

He was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a four-month detention order after admitting having a knife in public.

In a statement, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Yousef Makki who suffered such a devastating loss.

“We respect the conclusion reached by the coroner who applies a very different test to the one used by the criminal courts.

“We put the case before a jury, held a full trial in 2019 and the defendant was found not guilty. We respect the verdict of the jury in the criminal case.”

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