A 17-year-old who was bought the knife that killed Yousef Makki in Hale Barns last year is asking for his identity to be protected because it would “critically undermine” progress at his new school – where teachers and classmates know nothing about his criminal record.
Yousef Makki, a 17-year-old Manchester Grammar School student, died after being stabbed in the heart during a fight with his friend Joshua Molnar in March 2019.
Molnar was subsequently cleared of murder and manslaughter following a trial at Manchester Crown Court after successfully convincing the jury he had acted in self-defence. He was convicted of the lesser charges of possessing a knife and perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to 16 months, and his identity was revealed in October when he turned 18.
Molnar had stood trial alongside a teenager known as Boy B, who was cleared of perverting the course of justice but convicted of possession of a flick knife, and he was given a four-month detention order.
His anonymity, like Molnar’s, will automatically expire when he turns 18 later this month – but he is asking the High Court to protect his identity until November 2021 to enable him to complete his A Levels and “get his life back on track”.
Adam Wolanski QC, who is acting for the anonymous boy, said he had been turned down by 12 schools since the trial concluded.
He said: “The family applied for him to join sixth form, saying we have a moral responsibility to help rehabilitate him. The completion of his A levels would help get his life back on track.
“Twelve schools turned him down. It wasn’t anything to do with his academic capabilities or a lack of extracurricular activities as he has a strong sporting career. It’s because of his particular background as Boy B.”
Wolanski produced a statement from the school the boy now attends, which was not named.
It read: “It is apparent he was traumatised by Yousef Makki’s death and deeply regrets his association with these events.
“He has been given a single point of contact, his academic progress is regularly reviewed, and we’ve restricted knowledge to the absolute minimum number of people.
“His teachers and classmates know nothing about his criminal record or his association with the death of Yousef Makki. His reputation is so far unblemished and we see he is no risk to our community.”
It added: “There are students who would be highly suspicious of a convicted criminal being in their midst.
“We believe vulnerable members of the student body would become very anxious, especially after the inevitable trial by social media that would follow by the heightened publicity.
“Keeping his name private until he has left school would be the most appropriate course of action.”
Wolanski said that Boy B “used to be a sociable gregarious boy but now he spends his time isolated from others”… “If he is identified, it would have a serious impact on his mental state.
“His paranoia is getting to him. He’s scared he’ll be rejected again. He’s worried about his identity being revealed. He will be so anxious that he won’t be able to continue.
“Revealing his identity will trigger his PTSD and worsen his anxiety problems. It would be best for his mental wellbeing to keep his identity secret until he finishes.”
He added that there was a “widespread misunderstanding” about his client’s role in the case.
The hearing continues.