Yousef Makki: Boy, 17, cleared of stabbing teenager to death

Yousef MakkiImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
Yousef Makki, 17, was stabbed in the heart

A boy has been cleared of murdering a 17-year-old he stabbed in the heart with a flick knife.

Manchester Grammar School pupil Yousef Makki was attacked in Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, on 2 March.

A 17-year-old, who was referred to as Boy A, was accused of killing Yousef in a row over an attempt to rob a drug dealer.

The boy denied murder, claiming he acted in self-defence, and was also found not guilty of manslaughter.

The jury reached its decision after a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Following the verdict, Yousef's father Ghaleb Makki exploded in anger and the judge, Mr Justice Bryan, cleared the courtroom.

BBC Radio Manchester reporter Richard Stead, who was in court, said there was "shock and disbelief" from the public gallery when the verdicts were announced.

He said Mr Makki banged on a Perspex divider and began to shout and swear at jurors.

He was heard to shout "Where's the justice for my son? Where's the justice?" before collapsing on the floor in tears.

Yousef, from a single-parent Anglo-Lebanese family from Burnage, south Manchester, had won a scholarship to the prestigious £12,000-a-year school.

He was stabbed in the village, which is popular with footballers and celebrities.

A second teenager, also 17 and referred to as Boy B, was found not guilty of both perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to rob. Both boys were also cleared of conspiracy to commit robbery in the lead-up to Yousef's death.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The teenager was stabbed in the village of Hale Barns

The teenagers had previously admitted possessing a knife and Boy A pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police. Both defendants are due to be sentenced for those charges on 25 July.

The jury heard the stabbing was an "accident waiting to happen" as all three boys indulged in "idiotic fantasies" playing as middle-class gangsters.

Despite the privileged backgrounds of both defendants, they led "double lives", the court was told.

Calling each other "Bro" and "Fam" and the police "feds", the defendants and Yousef smoked cannabis and listened to rap and drill music, the trial heard.

They would post videos on social media, making threats and posing with "shanks" or knives.

Hours before the fatal stabbing, Boy B arranged a £45 cannabis deal and the teenagers planned to rob the drug dealer - a "soft target", the trial heard.

But the robbery went wrong and Yousef and Boy B fled, leaving Boy A to take a beating.

Boy A then later pushed Yousef who punched him in the face, the trial heard.

He told the jury Yousef pulled out a knife and he responded by also taking out a knife and his victim was accidentally stabbed.

As Yousef lay dying, the defendants hid the knives in bushes and down a drain, dialled 999 and tried to staunch Yousef's chest wound.

A passing heart surgeon performed emergency surgery in the back of an ambulance but the teenager suffered catastrophic blood loss.

The defendants told police they had found Yousef stabbed and suggested others were responsible.

A statement released by the family of Boy A said there were "no winners in this case".

"Yousef's death was a tragedy and our son will have to live with the responsibility of his role for the rest of his life.

"But the Makki family's loss and hurt are infinitely greater. Nothing we can say can make up for that or change it."

Det Ch Insp Colin Larkin from Greater Manchester Police said the force was "disappointed" at the verdict but respected the decision of the jury.

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