Manchester

Yousef Makki trial: Defendant 'smirked at family in court'

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Media captionYousef Makki’s mum says her family were "treated like criminals"

The mother of a stabbed teenager has said one of the boys on trial over her son's killing would "moonwalk" past her in court.

Yousef Makki, 17, was stabbed in the heart in Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, on 2 March.

His mum Debbie said she had to share a corridor with two defendants during a trial at Manchester Crown Court.

A boy, 17, admitted stabbing Yousef with a flick knife but was cleared of murder and manslaughter.

Known in court as Boy A, the teenager pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and possessing a knife and will spend eight months in custody.

Another 17-year-old, known as Boy B, was given a four-month detention and training order after he admitted possessing a knife.

'Shoved upstairs'

Throughout the trial, Mrs Makki said, she would see both defendants outside the courtroom.

"One of them used to moonwalk past us and laugh, the other one just used to smirk at us," she said.

Mrs Makki said she felt her family was "treated like criminals" and were left feeling "pushed out" of proceedings.

She told BBC Radio 5 live: "We were actually shown a video of Yousef dead on the floor and we weren't warned about any of it.

"That picture sticks in my daughter's head forever."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Yousef, who won a scholarship to the prestigious £12,000-a-year school, was "extremely intelligent", his mother said

Mrs Makki said her son, a Manchester Grammar School pupil, was "made to look like the bad guy" during the trial.

"The whole case for four weeks was aimed at the fact that these boys were good boys from a good area, as if they were innocent babies, as if they couldn't possibly do anything bad because they weren't from a council estate."

The family was "shoved upstairs" in the public gallery to watch the four-week trial "through a glass window", Mrs Makki said.

This made it difficult to hear proceedings and left them unable to see the accused, she said.

"They're protected like babies with their families next to them and we're told there is no room for us," she said.

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

'Intelligent, caring, kind'

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

Mrs Makki described him as "extremely intelligent, caring, kind" and "always true to himself".

"It is as if a light has gone out," she added.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said victims' families were "offered the use of a private suite and the option of sitting away from a defendant's family" during cases and headphones were available to help those in the public gallery "listen to proceedings more clearly".

He added that it was "a tragic case and our sympathies remain with Mr Makki's family" and said the department was "looking at the possibility of putting speakers into the upstairs public gallery" at the court.

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