Friday, 3 Feb 2023

Inquest verdict for boy stabbed to death quashed in victory for family

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The inquest verdict of a teenage boy who died of stab injuries has been quashed – despite a coroner saying she could not be sure it was an unlawful killing.

The family of Yousef Makki, 17, today won their appeal for a fresh inquest as a narrative conclusion – reached after a hearing in 2021 – infuriated them.

The teenager was fatally stabbed through the heart by his rich friend, Joshua Molnar, also 17, in affluent Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, on March 2, 2019.

Molnar, now 21, was handed a 16-month detention and training order after admitting possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury and lying to police at the scene.

But the public schoolboy was cleared of murder and manslaughter at the same hearing in 2019, and since then Greater Manchester senior coroner Alison Mutch said the precise circumstances of the death “could not be ascertained”, and recorded a narrative conclusion.

A fresh inquest will take place before a different coroner, lawyers for the Makki family have confirmed.

Peter Weatherby KC and solicitor Matthew Stanbury said in a statement: “The family have acted with incredible dignity throughout the legal processes since Yousef’s death. They are very pleased with the High Court’s decision, and although they recognise that no legal process can bring Yousef back, they hope that some semblance of justice can now be obtained.”

But Molnar had argued he acted in self-defence, alleging Yousef pushed him and pulled a knife on him, Manchester Evening News reports.

Molnar’s co-defendant, another public schoolboy Adam Chowdhary, now 20, from Hale Barns, who described Yousef as his “best friend”, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice. He was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife, one of two he claimed he and Yousef had jointly ordered online during a break from lessons at school.

Yousef’s mother Debbie, 55, died in May, 2020, during lockdown. She had never recovered from Yousef’s death and died “of a broken heart”, according to her family.

The Makki family have always maintained that Yousef was a “peacemaker” and said they were “disgusted” with the conclusion.

The family continued with their campaign and successfully applied for a judicial review of the coroner’s findings, which took place at Manchester’s Civil Justice Centre in November last year before Mr Justice Fordham and Lady Justice Macur.

Representing Yousef’s family, Peter Weatherby KC told the hearing that Ms Mutch should have “strived to make a finding” that Yousef’s death was accidental or unlawful.

He said: “In essence, the coroner found insufficient evidence on the balance of probabilities that he was unlawfully killed… we say that there was a wealth of evidence.”

Mr Weatherby referenced Molnar’s differing accounts that he said changed from what he told police at the scene in the immediate aftermath of the stabbing, to his trial, and then eventually the inquest.

Source: Read Full Article

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