UK Markets close in 32 mins

Yousef Makki: Teenager cleared of murder after fatal stabbing of 17-year-old in Cheshire

A teenager has been cleared of murdering his grammar schoolboy friend with a flick knife in a Cheshire village.

Yousef Makki, 17, died after being stabbed in the heart during a row in Hale Barns in March.

At Manchester Crown Court, a jury declared a 17-year-old (boy A) not guilty of his murder, and not guilty of an alternative charge of manslaughter.

A second boy, known as Boy B, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and not guilty of conspiracy to rob.

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

Boy A previously admitted lying to the police at the scene, and pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Neither defendants can be named because they are under 18.

Yousef, from an Anglo-Lebanese family in Burnage, had won a scholarship to the prestigious Manchester Grammar School and wanted to be a heart surgeon.

During a four-week trial in court, the jury heard the defendants led "double lives", from their families and background, with Alastair Webster, Boy A's barrister, calling them "middle class gangsters".

The court heard the stabbing was an "accident waiting to happen" as all three indulged in "idiotic fantasies", and posted videos on social media making threats and posing with knives.

Boy A had pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defence.

The court heard that hours before the stabbing Boy B had arranged to buy £45 of cannabis and the trio planned to rob the dealer, calling him a "soft target".

But the robbery went wrong, and Yousef and Boy B fled, leaving Boy A to be beaten up.

Boy A then later pushed Yousef and punched him in the face. Boy A told the jury Yousef pulled a knife on him, so he responded by pulling a knife too, and the victim was accidentally stabbed.

Boy A cried as he told 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."

The defendants called 999 while the victim lay dying, and hid the knives in a bush and down a drain.

A passerby, a heart surgeon, performed emergency surgery in the back of the ambulance but Yousef died having suffered catastrophic blood loss.

The defendants told police at the scene that they had found Yousef with his stab wounds and suggested others were responsible.

Prosecuting, Nicholas Johnson said the videos the boys posted online showed Boy A "acting out something that ultimately led to the death of Yousef Makki".

He added: "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."

After the verdict was delivered, Boy A puffed out his cheeks and closed his eyes before he was hugged by his tearful family.

But in the public gallery, Yousef's father shouted in fury and the judge had to clear the courtroom.