Yousef Makki death: Boy who lied to police after fatal stabbing sentenced
Boy A admitted perverting the course of justice by lying to police and possession of a flick knife.
A teenager who lied to police after he stabbed a grammar school pupil to death will spend eight months in custody.
The boy, aged 17, stabbed Yousef Makki, also 17, in the heart with a flick knife in a tree-lined street in the upmarket village of Hale Barns, Cheshire, on March 2.
Yousef, who was 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 defendant, Boy A, admitted perverting the course of justice by lying to police and possession of a flick knife. He was cleared by a jury earlier this month of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter after he said he acted in self-defence.
On Thursday at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Justice Bryan sentenced Boy A to a 12-month detention and training order for perverting the course of justice and a four-month detention and training order for possessing a bladed article, to run consecutively.
There is nothing cool about knives. Their carrying all too often leads to their use and to tragedy, and it is a fallacy that they can keep you safe - very much the reverse, as events all too often demonstrate Mr Justice Bryan
A second 17-year-old defendant, 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.
Boy B was sentenced to a four-month detention and training order.
Both will be released halfway through their sentences under supervision.
Neither of the defendants from wealthy Cheshire families can be named as they are under 18.
Sentencing, the judge told the pair: “From the evidence I have heard in the course of your trial, it is clear that both of you had an unhealthy fixation with knives which is all too common amongst the youth of today.
“It must stop. There is nothing cool about knives. Their carrying all too often leads to their use and to tragedy, and it is a fallacy that they can keep you safe – very much the reverse, as events all too often demonstrate.”
Both defendants, wearing suits, showed no reaction as they left the dock, with tears from relatives of Boy A sitting in the public gallery.
The jury heard the stabbing was an “accident waiting to happen” as all three youths indulged in “idiotic fantasies” playing middle class gangsters.
Despite the privileged backgrounds of both defendants they led “double lives”, the court heard.
Calling each other “Bro” and “Fam” and the police “Feds”, the defendants and Yousef smoked cannabis, road around on bikes and listened to rap or drill music.
They would post videos on social media, making threats and posing with “shanks”, or knives, the court heard.
Boy B purchased the flick knives online in a false name.
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, the court heard.
He told the jury Yousef pulled out a knife and he responded by also taking out a knife in self defence and his victim was accidentally stabbed.
Addressing Boy A, Mr Justice Bryan said the teenager maintained his false account of events throughout the time at the scene and did not correct himself for some 24 hours.
His convincing lies, the judge said, meant he was treated at the scene as a witness not a suspect and undoubtedly wasted valuable police resources.
Alistair Webster QC, defending Boy A, said the teenager had “undergone the trauma of a murder trial”.
He said: “He does not seek to underplay the serious nature of his role in the death of his friend.
“He does have genuine insight and regret into the consequences of his actions. He knows that for Yousef’s family and many members of the public a custodial sentence is the only way they will feel that justice will be served. Any sentence he will receive will never be long enough.”
He submitted that his client’s integration back into society had been made more difficult by the “criminal misbehaviour of self-righteous armchair warriors who despite court orders have published details of him and his family”.
He added: “That has been aggravated by a local member of Parliament – who really should know better – by raising the issue of possible racial basis which will come as a surprise to the ethnically mixed jury. A singularly unfortunate pronouncement based on ignorance of the facts which has simply fanned the flames.”
Following the verdicts, Labour’s Manchester Central MP, Lucy Powell, tweeted: “You do have to ask if these defendants were black, at state school and from, say, moss side whether they would have been acquitted …”
Eleanor Laws QC, defending Boy B, said character witnesses had described him as “gentle, pleasant and caring” which was also reflected in his pre-sentence report and that he had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.