Yousef Makki murder verdict: MP questions if teens would have been cleared if they were ‘black state school pupils’

A teenager was cleared of the murder of Yousef Makki (Picture: PA)

An MP has questioned the acquittal of two public schoolboys in the fatal stabbing of a teenager.

Labour MP Lucy Powell suggested those charged in connection with the murder of Yousef Makki, 17, would not have been cleared if they had been black and educated at a state school.

The Manchester Grammar School pupil was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, Cheshire, in March.

Two teenage boys, both 17, who cannot be named, were cleared following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.

One boy was cleared of his murder, while another boy was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

Ms Powell, the MP for Manchester Central, tweeted on Saturday: “You do have to ask if these defendants were black, at state school and from, say, moss side whether they would have been acquitted”.

On Monday, she tweeted: “I stand by my comments on this. My point is wider: (not as judge & jury in this one) black, poor, young men - as is well-evidenced - are much more likely to get life-sentences for a peripheral, if any, role in a killing. These were acquitted.”

Following the verdict, Yousef’s father Ghaleb collapsed in court, asking: “Where’s the justice? There’s no justice for my son.”

Boy A stabbed Yousef in the heart with a flick knife on a tree-lined street in Hale Barns, claiming he acted in self-defence.

Labour MP Lucy Powell questioned the verdict (Picture: PA)

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

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

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

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Calling each other "Bro" and "Fam" and the police "Feds", the defendants and Yousef smoked cannabis, road around on bikes, "chilling" and listened to rap or drill music.

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

Boy A denied murder but admitted perverting the course of justice by lying to police and possession of a flick knife.

Boy B, was cleared of perverting the course of justice by allegedly lying to police about what he had seen but also admitted possession of a flick knife.

Both were also cleared of conspiracy to commit robbery in the lead up to Yousef's death.

Both defendants still face sentencing for possession of the flick knives, purchased by Boy B from an app called Wish, and Boy A also faces sentence for perverting the course of justice.

The court heard the background to the fatal stabbing on Gorse Bank Road, Hale Barns, was that hours earlier, Boy B arranged a £45 cannabis deal and the teenagers planned to rob the drug dealer, a "soft target".

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 called him a "pussy" and punched him in the face.

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

Boy A broke down in tears telling the jury: "I have got more annoyed. I have taken it out straight away, I don't really know what I did, kind of lifted my arm up.

"I didn't realise anything had happened at first."

Yousef Makki was stabbed to death (Picture: PA)

As the victim lay dying, the panicking defendants hid the knives in bushes and down a drain, dialled 999 and desperately tried to staunch the blood pouring out of Yousef's chest wound.

A local man passing by, a heart surgeon, performed emergency surgery in the back of an ambulance but Yousef suffered catastrophic blood loss.

They told police scrambled to the scene they had found Yousef stabbed and suggested others were responsible.

The jury also saw social media videos of Boy A posing and brandishing knives and machetes.

Nicholas Johnson QC, prosecuting, said the videos showed him "acting out something that ultimately led to the death of Yousef Makki".

"He was too quick to reach for his knife and too quick to use it, probably because it was a move he had practised for so long.

"It was a petulant, malicious response of a wannabe hardman who had lost face and could not get his own way."

A statement released by the family of Boy A, said: "Obviously we welcome the verdicts. The jury came to proper conclusions on the evidence. There are, however, 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."

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin, of Greater Manchester Police's Major Incident Team, said: "Although we are disappointed in today's verdict, we must respect the decision of the jury.

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