The sister of a murder victim has published pictures of her brother’s blood-stained clothes from the night of his death to try and prevent another family suffering the devastation of knife crime.
Straight-A student Yousef Makki, 17, from Burnage, south Manchester, was stabbed in the heart with a flick knife in the leafy suburb of Hale Barns on March 2, 2019.
His wealthy friend, Joshua Molnar, was unanimously acquitted of murder and manslaughter, following a trial at Manchester Crown Court, telling the jury he had acted in self-defence.
Molnar, now 20, was handed a 16-month detention and training order after he admitted perverting the course of justice and possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury.
Now Yousef’s sister, Jade Akoum, has written a book about her family’s ordeal, saying she wanted to encourage parents to have a conversation with their children in a bid to stop further tragedy on the streets.
The Boy With A Pound In His Pocket, outlines with shocking openness and detail how a single stab wound not only ended Yousef’s promising life but also ripped apart many others.
She has published images of the blood-soaked top Manchester Grammar School pupil Yousef had been wearing that night, as well as the blood-spattered Nike trainers he had on when he was stabbed.
Another image shows a small rip in the left breast of his bubble coat, where the knife had gone in. The hole is small but its impact huge.
Straight-A student Yousef Makki, 17, from Burnage, south Manchester, was stabbed in the heart with a flick knife in the leafy suburb of Hale Barns on March 2, 2019
Yousef Makki’s sister has published images of the bloodstained clothes worn by her brother on the night of his death
These included the blood-spattered Nike trainers he had on when he was stabbed
Jade said: ‘It just shows the devastation knife crime can cause. People don’t understand how much people can bleed from one little stab wound.
‘There’s so much blood. If you look at his clothes and his trainers, it’s what teenagers wear. It brings it home to me just how young he was when he was killed.
‘I want parents to discuss this with their kids and if they see a different perspective kids might think differently about their own actions and their own families.’
Another defendant at the 2019 trial, Adam Chowdhary, now 19, from Hale Barns, who described Yousef as his ‘best friend’, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice.
He was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife, one of two he claimed he and Yousef had jointly ordered online during a break from lessons.
Yousef’s mother Debbie, 55, died in May 2020, during lockdown. She had never recovered from Yousef’s death and died ‘of a broken heart’, according to her family.
In her book, Jade described how she has kept and still looks at the clothes Yousef was wearing the day he was stabbed.
Jade writes: ‘Following the trial, Yousef’s blood-stained clothes, or rather, the clothes in which he died, had been released to us.
‘He had been wearing his own long-sleeved grey top. But there was a The North Face bubble coat, and a pair of Stone Island Cargo pants, both far too expensive for Yousef to afford.
‘We had presumed, since he had stayed over with Adam, he had borrowed his clothes the following day, the day of his death.
‘The jacket had a vicious slash right through it, where he had been stabbed. Mum could not bear to look at the clothes, the fact that they belonged to someone who was by his side on the day when Yousef was stabbed was too much to take. It seemed too far-fetched, too lurid.
‘But again, we were dealing with grief from different perspectives. For when Mum wasn’t around, I took the clothes out of the plastic wrapping, spread them across the kitchen table, and studied them for hours.
‘Perhaps I was looking for answers, perhaps I was hoping for a connection with Yousef. Maybe I felt, somewhat ambitiously, that I could anaesthetise myself to the horror of knowing that my little brother had bled to death in this outfit.
‘But every time I looked at them, the pain seemed even sharper, even fresher. And if I stared long enough at the clothes, they would often take on a shape and a life of their own, and reassemble into an image of my brother, staggering down Gorse Bank Road, clutching desperately, uselessly, at his bleeding chest.’
Another image shows a small rip in the left breast of his bubble coat, where the knife had gone in. The hole is small but its impact huge
Jade is publishing the keepsakes as part of efforts to prevent another family suffering the devastation of knife crime
Jade Akoum (left) wants to meet the boys who were involved in her brother’s (right) death, and says she has compassion in her heart
Joshua Molnar, then 17, who was sentenced to 16 months in a young offenders institution after he pleaded guilty to possessing a knife and perverting the course of justice
Jade added: ‘I was trapped in a cycle of pain as raw as it was relentless. Yet I was drawn back to the clothes, like the video clips and the clothes in Yousef’s wardrobe. Time after time, I spread them out on the table, and I immersed myself in grief.’
Later, Jade writes: ‘We have found out, to our cost, that knives taint every section of society; even the richest, the brightest, the most fortunate.
‘We need to talk to all children about knives, de-glamorise them and de-myth them, and show them the photos of Yousef’s forgotten school-bag, his redundant boxing gloves, his blood-stained white trainers. We need to tell them the painful truth.’
Jade contributed to a Channel 4 documentary about the tragedy, Killed By A Rich Kid, which included police body-cam footage from the scene.
The governor of HMP Hindley, near Wigan, was so moved by it she played it to some inmates, who invited Jade to talk a small group of prisoners on Friday.
Jade said: ‘It was a group of prisoners who mentor others. I’ve never been into a prison before.
‘I had an image of them being cold, hardened criminals. But it wasn’t like that at all. They were normal. They are trying to change, which is nice to see.’
Among the inmates Jade spoke to was a 23-year-old from Stretford who had a year left of his sentence for a knife-related crime.
Jade said: ‘He said the documentary had made him think and that you don’t think when you are leading that life.
‘It had made him think about his own family and the devastation knife crime causes. It made him think twice.’
The prisoners presented Jade with a £2,000 cheque, money they raised, which will go towards her anti-knife crime campaign, as well as her legal challenge against the conclusion of last year’s inquest.
The Makki family, who had urged an unlawful killing finding, are seeking a judicial review to overturn the coroner’s narrative conclusion.