London - A privately educated schoolboy was fatally stabbed by a friend after backing out of an attempt to rob a drug dealer, a court heard on Thursday.
Yousef Makki, 17, suffered a single wound to his heart after the accused – identified as Boy A – allegedly turned on him.
With a third youth, Boy B, the friends had planned to ambush a dealer and steal cannabis worth just £45 in the leafy village of Hale Barns, Cheshire, a court heard.
But the trio’s plot crumbled when Yousef and Boy B rode away on their bicycles. Boy A remained and, despite being armed with a knife, was beaten up by the dealer’s accomplices, it was said.
The boys met up again an hour later, in the evening of March 2, when Boy A furiously confronted his friends, Manchester Crown Court was told.
Yousef ended up lying against a tree fatally injured while his two friends – both also aged 17 – are accused of lying to bystanders and police about what happened. They initially claimed an assailant in a passing car resembling the drug dealer’s carried out the attack.
Yousef, from an Anglo-Lebanese family, studied at prestigious £12 000-a-year Manchester Grammar School where he won a scholarship. He dreamed of becoming a heart surgeon, but died in the back of an ambulance as an off-duty heart surgeon desperately tried to save his life.
On Thursday, his grieving father Ghaleb, a salesman, was in the public gallery as his son’s friends went on trial.
Wearing smart suits and ties, the 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons but are also privately educated, sat expressionless in the dock as prosecutor Nick Johnson opened the case to the jury.
He said Boy A claimed Yousef’s death was accidental and that he stabbed him in self-defence.
This boy is accused of murder and conspiracy to rob. He admits possessing a flick knife and perverting the course of justice.
Boy B is accused of conspiracy to rob and perverting the course of justice, which he denies. He also admits possessing a flick knife.
Mr Johnson said the trio gathered outside a branch of upmarket grocers, Booths, in the afternoon of March 2. They arranged to meet a drug dealer on a dirt track but when he arrived with two other men, Boy B said he had no money and he and Yousef rode off.
Boy A then tried to pull at the driver’s door and reached into his waistband, where the dealer thought he had a knife, the court heard.
The two other men got out of the car, punched the boy to the ground and threw his £2 000 bike over a hedge.
Mr Johnson said that in the later confrontation, Boy A angrily took Boy B’s jacket as a ‘security’ until his bike was found – and then attacked Yousef in revenge before desperately trying to stop him bleeding to death.
"Having set up the robbery, (Boy B) fled, leaving (Boy A) to take a beating. That would be a fairly good reason for them to fall out," he said.
Boy B gave crucial evidence to police, telling officers Boy A ‘kind of just flipped’ with his friends.
The prosecutor added: "(Boy A) was in a temper and it was in that state that he stabbed Yousef."
The stabbing happened at about 6.35pm – 90 minutes after the failed robbery, and ‘grainy CCTV’ showed ‘some sort of confrontation’.
Security guard Michael Bowman saw the ‘altercation’ and intervened but was told by Boy A that those responsible were in a ‘grey hatchback’.
Mr Johnson said that as Mr Bowman applied pressure to Yousef’s wound, the teen accused of murder helped and was "crying, panicking and shouting 'come on mate, come on bruv'."
Both boys were arrested on suspicion of murder that night and quickly dropped claims about the attacker in the passing car.
In his account of the fight with Yousef, Boy A claimed he stabbed him in self-defence. He said: "Yousef called me a pussy. I was upset and pushed Yousef. Yousef is very hot-tempered.
"Yousef pulled his knife. He swung at me with his fist, striking my head. He shouted, 'come on then'.
"He came towards me. I pulled the knife Yousef had given me. I think he came on to the knife."
Two flick knives were found in nearby gardens. A third knife was in a drain.
Boy B said all the group carried knives. He added that Yousef asked him to kick his knife into a drain as he lay dying.
The trial continues.Daily Mail