Family of slain schoolboy Yousef Makki tell of ‘disappointment’ after CPS declined to pursue a retrial of his killer – even after coroner ruled his death was unlawful
- Josh Molnar claimed he took out his knife in self-defence against Yousef Makki
The family of stabbed schoolboy Yousef Makki say they have been left ‘disappointed’ after the Crown Prosecution Service declined to seek a retrial of his killer – despite a coroner last month ruling his death was unlawful.
The decision not to apply to the Court of Appeal to quash the outcome of the original trial – at which Yousef’s friend Josh Molnar was acquitted of murder and manslaughter on the grounds of self-defence – was also criticised by a former chief crown prosecutor.
Molnar claimed he took out his knife after Yousef punched him and brandished a knife during the confrontation in the wealthy suburb of Hale Barns, on the Greater Manchester-Cheshire border on March 2, 2019.
But the inquest heard new evidence from Adam Chowdhary, a friend of both Yousef and Molnar, saying he did not see Yousef holding a knife after he was stabbed – and that he produced one from his pocket with the blade retracted for him to dispose of down a drain.
Coroner Geraint Williams, who recorded an unlawful killing verdict, said Chowdhary’s evidence about how Yousef gave him the knife was ‘compelling and utterly convincing, adding: ‘I have no hesitation in finding as a fact that that is exactly what happened.’
The family of stabbed schoolboy Yousef Makki (pictured) say they have been left ‘disappointed’ after the Crown Prosecution Service declined to seek a retrial of his killer
Yousef’s sister Jade Akoum, 33, (pictured) said of the CPS decision not to follow up the outcome of the second inquest by seeking a retrial: ‘It’s disappointing. We still feel like nobody has been held accountable’
Yousef’s friend Josh Molnar (pictured) was acquitted of murder and manslaughter on the grounds of self-defence
The coroner found ‘that Mr Makki did not threaten or attack (Molnar) with a knife – or at all’ and Molnar’s ‘use of (his) knife was unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable in all of the circumstances’.
He ruled Molnar’s actions were not committed in ‘self-defence’ as he had claimed, and that they did amount to manslaughter.
A change in double-jeopardy law allowing people to be retried for offences where they had previously been found not guilty came into force from 2005 – subject to ‘compelling new evidence’ coming to light.
Chowdhary chose not to speak during the trial and gave only a limited account at the first inquest, in November 2021, where the previous coroner could not be certain if Yousef’s death was deliberate.
High Court judges found the first inquest did not fully consider the evidence and quashed the result in January after Yousef’s family took the matter to a judicial review.
Yousef’s sister Jade Akoum, 33, said of the CPS decision not to follow up the outcome of the second inquest by seeking a retrial: ‘It’s disappointing. We still feel like nobody has been held accountable. Nobody has been punished for Yousef’s death.’
Of the inquest conclusion, she added: ‘It’s a form of justice but it’s not proper justice, is it? Because his killer is out there.’
Mrs Akoum said the family may now seek a private prosecution of Molnar – which would require them to seek a legal challenge to the original trial verdict in the Court of Appeal themselves.
Jade and her baby brother Yousef are pictured when they were children
Yousef Makki, 17, died from a 5.5-inch stab wound through the heart in March 2019 after a confrontation with his friend Joshua Molnar
Mrs Akoum was last night backed by former North West Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who said: ‘Chowdhary’s evidence is quite significant. If his evidence was that Yousef didn’t have a knife, the self-defence argument becomes weaker.
‘I’m puzzled at the decision the CPS have taken. On the face of it, there’s new evidence, there’s even compelling evidence.
‘That’s potentially something that should be brought before the Court of Appeal.’
Yousef, 17, a scholarship pupil at the prestigious Manchester Grammar School, was a highly intelligent A-Level student who was on the verge of exams for Oxford or Cambridge universities and wanted to become a heart surgeon.
Chowdhary, a fellow Manchester Grammar School pupil, and Molnar, a former pupil at prestigious Cheadle Hulme and Ellesmere College, were also both 17 at the time and from wealthy backgrounds.
The Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to seek a retrial.
Coroners’ courts use a different burden of proof, based on the balance of probabilities, to criminal courts – where proof must be beyond reasonable doubt.
Of the inquest conclusion, Jade added: ‘It’s a form of justice but it’s not proper justice, is it? Because his killer is out there’
READ MORE: Public schoolboy who stabbed Yousef Makki to death denies lying that his victim had a knife in the confrontation that cost the 17-year-old his life, inquest hears
Mrs Akoum said she has been told by Greater Manchester Police they would now need a further breakthrough such as a new eyewitness to come forward, for the case to be reopened by the CPS.
She has ruled out pursuing a civil case, saying the family’s motivation ‘has never been about money’.
She added: ‘It has been about the truth and for Yousef’s killer to face punishment for what he did.’
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of Yousef Makki who suffered such a devastating loss. We respect the conclusion reached by the coroner who applies a very different test to the one used by the criminal courts.
‘We put the case before a jury, held a full trial in 2019 and the defendant was found not guilty. We respect the verdict of the jury in the criminal case.’ GMP has been approached for comment.’
Molnar, now 22, of Knutsford, Cheshire, was given a 16-month detention and training order in July 2019 after he admitted possessing a knife and lying to police.
Chowdhary, now 21, of Hale Barns, was given four-month’ detention for possessing a knife but acquitted of lying to police.
Source: Read Full Article