The tragic tale of Yousef Makki, a 17-year old student stabbed to death by a friend in the town of Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, has taken a sudden turn. Following an in-depth redoing inquest, it was finally established that the young man was unlawfully killed, much to the relief and sorrow of his grieving family.
The initial conclusions of the first inquest in 2021 were overturned by the High Court. That earlier investigation had followed two years after Yousef’s friend, Joshua Molnar, had been acquitted of the charges of murder and manslaughter. Upon hearing the new findings read out by Coroner Geraint Williams, audible gasps issued from the public gallery where Yousef’s family were seated.
Yousef’s sister, Jade Akoum, expressed relief and a sense of justice at a press conference following the declaration. The family’s rigorous pursuit of truth and justice had led to the earlier inquest findings being dismissed and a new inquest ordered, which finally echoed their conviction about Yousef’s demise.
In retelling the circumstances of the tragedy, Coroner Williams contested much of the initial evidence. He clarified that Yousef hadn’t possessed a knife at the time of his death, unlike earlier assertions, and that Molnar hadn’t acted in self-defence. He added, “I find as a fact Yousef Makki did not use a knife to threaten or attack Joshua Molnar. I conclude he did not act in lawful self-defence.”
Despite having known Yousef since childhood, Molnar, currently 22 years old, justified his actions as self-defence during his trial, detailing a minor altercation which supposedly led to Yousef brandishing a knife first, resulting in the fatal stab wound. The court had also heard a third friend, Adam Chowdhary, who had been present at the time, express his obliviousness to the incident, claiming he had been occupied on his phone.
In the end, Molnar was not convicted of murder but received a 16-month prison sentence for carrying a knife in public and for the perversion of justice. Chowdhary was given a four-month detention order after admitting to having a knife in public.
While Ms Akoum feels a sense of relief with the new ruling, she believes justice doesn’t equate to a lifelong sentence for Molnar. Rather, justice lies in the acknowledgment of the unlawfulness of her brother’s killing and the burden of this truth that Molnar would carry for his lifetime.
As the police contemplate any further action in the light of these findings, the Makki family continues to grieve the irreplaceable loss of Yousef Makki. The memory of their devastating loss creeps into their lives, underscoring the ephemeral nature of justice and the indelible scar of a life lost too soon.