Brothers refuse to answer questions at Yousef Makki inquest

Two brothers have refused at an inquest to answer questions about the death of a grammar school boy stabbed through the heart in a Cheshire village.

Mohammed and Ibrahim Chaudhry both repeatedly declined to answer questions after they were called to give evidence at the inquest into the death of Yousef Makki, 17, a scholarship boy at Manchester Grammar School.

He was stabbed by his friend, Joshua Molnar, aged 17 at the time, during a fight in upmarket Hale Barns, Cheshire, on the early evening of March 2, 2019.

Both Chaudhry brothers, from Wilmslow, were involved in a “pre-cursor event” before the fatal stabbing, Stockport Coroner’s Court heard.

Joshua Molnar arriving at Manchester Crown Court
Joshua Molnar arriving at Manchester Crown Court (Peter Byrne/PA)

Both had been summonsed to appear via video-link to give evidence but then refused to answer questions, to the evident annoyance of Alison Mutch, senior coroner for Manchester South.

Ms Mutch gave both witnesses the warning they had the legal right not to answer any question that may incriminate themselves, but told them this right was “question specific” and did not allow them to refuse to answer each and every question.

Both witnesses repeated the phrase, “I would not like to comment on that question,” when repeatedly asked to answer questions.

Both were advised to seek urgent legal advice by 4pm on Tuesday and ordered to attend the coroner’s court, in person, at 9am on Wednesday.

Yousef was described as a “peacemaker” by his sister, Jade Akoum, who gave evidence at the inquest on Monday.

On the night he died Yousef, from south Manchester, had been with his friends, Adam Chowdhary and Molnar, both from wealthy Cheshire families.

A row developed between the boys and Yousef was stabbed by Molnar. He claimed self-defence after Yousef pulled a knife on him and was acquitted of murder and manslaughter by a jury following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court in July 2019.

Chowdhary and Molnar got rid of three knives before police and paramedics scrambled to the scene and tried to save Yousef’s life.

Pc Stephen Bielizna, who dealt with Chaudhary at the scene, told the inquest: “He just asked me if he could leave. He was on his phone, constantly on his phone.”

Asked how he seemed to be, the officer replied: “Well, considering the incident that was taking place, in my opinion he was not really all that interested in what was happening. All he wanted to do was get on with his night.”

He was acquitted of perverting the course of justice and told police he did not see what had happened.

Chowdhary, who declined to give evidence from the witness box during his trial, was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife. His family fought, and lost, a legal battle banning the press from identifying him once he turned 18.

Molnar admitted possession of a knife and perverting the course of justice by initially lying to police about what had happened, and was given 16 months in custody.

Yousef’s family claim some matters presented to the jury at the trial were done on a “false premise” and the full truth has not been aired.

Earlier, Benjamin Sallon told the inquest he had been to a family function nearby and was leaving the area in a car when he spotted the scene.

Mr Sallon told of how he questioned Molnar and Chowdhary about what had happened.

His statement continued: “I thought and said to them, ‘How can you not know what has happened to him, you were with him?’ I did speak with a police officer at the scene and I said to them I wasn’t happy with what the youths were saying and that I thought they were lying.”

The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday morning.