Family of Yousef Makki ask for fresh inquest into his death

Lawyers for the family of a teenager stabbed to death in an upmarket Cheshire village have asked senior judges for a fresh inquest into his death to be held.

Peter Weatherby KC, representing the family of Yousef Makki at a judicial review hearing at the High Court in Manchester, also questioned the “fanciful” version of events presented as having happened on the night.

Any decision on a new inquest is expected later this year.

Joshua Molnar stabbed Yousef with a flick knife after the two, both then aged 17, had a row in Hale Barns on the evening of March 2 2019.

Molnar, from a wealthy Cheshire family, was cleared of murder and manslaughter following a trial at Manchester Crown Court four months later.

He claimed self-defence and told the jury that knives were produced after they argued and there was a “coming together”, the court heard.

Molnar, Yousef and another youth, Adam Chowdhary, then 17, had all carried knives that night.

Molnar was jailed for 16 months for possession of a knife in a public place and perverting the course of justice by lying to police at the scene.

Lawyers for the Makki family at the inquest into Yousef’s death argued that because the standard of proof in a criminal trial is “beyond reasonable doubt” while the standard during inquests is lower, being “on the balance of probabilities”, the coroner could conclude Yousef was unlawfully killed.

But Alison Mutch, senior coroner for Greater Manchester South, following a week-long inquest in November 2021, concluded she could not be sure of the “precise sequence of events” and ruled out both unlawful killing and accidental death as a conclusion.

Mr Weatherby said there were “discrepancies” between evidence heard at the trial and the inquest.

He said during the inquest Molnar said he was not sure who produced the knife first, but had told the jury in his trial Yousef took his knife out first, and claimed self-defence.

He also questioned the version of events about what happened directly after the stabbing.

Mr Weatherby added: “It would be fanciful to suggest he’s took it (his knife) out, been stabbed, then retracted the knife and put it in an inside pocket, clutched his chest and said ‘he’s stabbed me’.

“This is a death caused by an unlawful weapon brandished in the street by Joshua Molnar and unless there was some terrible accident or unless Yousef Makki put him in fear, this was an unlawful killing and the coroner simply fails to address those issues in her decision.”

Yousef Makki funeral
Yousef Makki, 17, was stabbed to death in the Cheshire village of Hale Barns in 2019 (Family handout/GMP/PA)

Yousef, from a single-parent family from south Manchester, won a scholarship to the £12,000-a-year Manchester Grammar School, where Chowdhary was also a pupil and they became good friends.

Along with Molnar they acted out fantasies of being “middle class gangsters” and toyed with weapons, the trial heard.

Chowdhary had bought two flick knives from an online website, Wish, for himself and Yousef, and told police he did not see what had happened between Yousef and Molnar.

Chowdhary was cleared of perverting the course of justice by the jury at his trial but admitted possession of a flick knife and was given a four-month detention order.

Lady Justice Macur and Mr Justice Fordham said they would consider the evidence and deliver a ruling at a later date. They extended their condolences to the Makki family who were in court during the hearing.