Boy stabbed in the heart by his friend was ‘peacemaker’, sister tells inquest

·3-min read

A grammar school scholarship boy stabbed through the heart by his ex-public school friend was a “peacemaker”, his sister told the inquest into his death.

Yousef Makki, 17, a pupil at Manchester Grammar School, was stabbed by his friend, Joshua Molnar, aged 17 at the time, during a fight in upmarket Hale Barns, Cheshire, on the early evening of March 2, 2019.

Molnar, from a wealthy Cheshire family, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter by a jury following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court in July 2019. He claimed self-defence after Yousef pulled a knife on him.

Molnar admitted possession of a knife and perverting the course of justice by initially lying to police about what had happened, and was given 16 months in custody.

Hale Barns fatal stabbing
Joshua Molnar arriving at Manchester Crown Court (Peter Byrne/PA)

Yousef’s family claim some matters presented to the jury at the trial were done on a “false premise” and the full truth has not been aired.

The inquest into Yousef’s death was delayed when it later emerged after the trial that Molnar was facing further criminal charges over handling an iPhone stolen in a violent robbery in Wilmslow weeks before Yousef’s death, although Molnar was not involved in the mugging.

Cheshire Police referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the Wilmslow investigation.

Jade Akoum, Yousef’s sister, was asked by the family’s lawyer, Pete Weatherby QC, whether her brother was ever interested in knives, had a “hot temper” or got into fights.

Mrs Akoum told the inquest at Stockport Coroner’s Court: “He was a peacemaker. He was everything you would want in a brother or son.

“Every day we miss him. It is a huge void we will never get back.”

Debbie Makki, 55, the mother of Yousef and Mrs Akoum, gave a statement about her son before her death in May last year.

It read: “I don’t think people realise how something like this affects your whole life.”

The inquiry heard that Yousef was from humble beginnings, from a single-parent Anglo-Lebanese family, but had a brilliant mind. His mother “scrimped and saved” to buy his £1,000 school uniform after he won a scholarship to the £12,000-a-year Manchester Grammar School.

On the night Yousef was stabbed, he and Molnar and another boy, Adam Chowdhary, had been together before a row developed. Molnar said Yousef pulled out a knife and he pulled out his and the two came together, with Yousef being fatally stabbed, suffering a 12-centimetre deep wound.

As Yousef lay dying, the panicking defendants hid the knives in bushes and down a drain, dialled 999 and desperately tried to staunch the blood pouring out of Yousef’s chest wound. Chowdhary was acquitted of perverting the course of justice and told police he did not see what had happened.

He was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife.

Dr Charles Wilson, the Home Office pathologist who carried out the post mortem, said the knife had gone between Yousef’s ribs, through cartilage and right through his heart, causing catastrophic injuries.

Dr Wilson told the hearing a “moderate” degree of force would be needed to cause such a wound. He added: “It would be impossible to inflict an injury like this without firmly holding on to the knife.”

He said there could be a component of force of a person moving towards the hand holding the weapon, but, generally, people did not move towards pointed objects – if they had seen them.

The inquest continues on Tuesday morning.

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