The death of Yousef Makki, the teenager stabbed to death in Hale Barns in March 2019, was not an “unlawful killing”, a coroner has concluded.
Joshua Molnar stabbed the 17-year-old Manchester Grammar School student with a flick knife on Gorse Bank Road.
Molnar was subsequently cleared of murder and manslaughter after the jury accepted that he acted in self-defence, and in February 2020 he was released from a Young Offenders’ Institute only 215 days into a 16-month sentence.
Yousef’s family had said they were hoping for “desperately needed answers” from the inquest at Stockport Coroner’s Court, and had pressed for a verdict of unlawful killing.
But Senior South Manchester Coroner Alison Mutch said she could not, on the balance of probabilities, conclude the death was an unlawful killing, accidental death, misadventure or even an open verdict.
She recorded a narrative verdict that Yousef had died from “complications from a stab wound the precise circumstances of which cannot on the balance of probabilities be ascertained”.
She said: “Having reflected on and considered all the evidence, I’m not satisfied even on the balance of probabilities that I can be satisfied as to the precise sequence of events so that I can be satisfied that the death was an unlawful killing. Therefore that conclusion is not open to me.”
In a statement released after the verdict, Olliers Solicitors, acting on behalf of Molnar, said: “The evidence has now been tested rigorously, both at trial before a High Court Judge and in an inquest before an experienced, senior coroner. The Coroner’s decision today is consistent with the evidence and the verdict of the Jury. It is the right decision. It shows we have a functioning justice system.
“Josh has accepted responsibility for his involvement in Yousef’s death. His remorse is genuine and heartfelt. He will live with this for the rest of his life.
“This was a truly tragic incident between friends and we hope today’s decision will bring an end to any further speculation.
“There are no winners here. A young life has been lost and a family devastated by his death. But to continue to suggest that Josh is guilty is wrong and those who persist in saying that are ignoring the conclusions of both court proceedings.
“Those conclusions ought now to be respected.”