THE death of a teenager stabbed in the heart by his friend in Hale Barns was not an unlawful killing, a coroner has ruled.

Yousef Makki was stabbed by Joshua Molnar after a row between the then 17-year-olds on the evening of March 2, 2019.

Molnar admitted to possession of a knife and to perverting the course of justice by lying to police at the scene of the stabbing, but was cleared of murder and manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court on July 12, 2019.

After the trial, lawyers for Yousef's family pushed for an inquest to be held at Manchester South Coroner's Court in the hope of an unlawful killing conclusion.

Lawyers for Molnar argued against the idea of an inquest, then against the idea of an unlawful killing conclusion, saying it would be inconsistent with the trial.

On Wednesday, coroner Alison Mutch said while an unlawful killing conclusion would not be inconsistent with the trial, due to the different standard of proof at an inquest, she did not have enough evidence to make it.

She said: "I am not satisfied, even on the balance of probabilities, that [Yousef's] death was an unlawful killing.

"Therefore that conclusion is not open to me."

Ms Mutch instead made a narrative conclusion.

She said: "[Yousef] died from complications of a stab wound to the chest, the precise circumstances of which can't, on the balance of probabilities, be ascertained."

At a press conference following the inquest, Jade Akoum, Yousef’s older sister, said the family were 'disgusted'.

She said: "The last 32 months have been beyond awful, after our beloved Yousef was stabbed to death by Joshua Molnar.

"Today, however, the coroner returned a narrative conclusion rather than a conclusion of unlawful killing, saying she was not able to determine the precise circumstances in which Yousef came by his death. To say we are disappointed is an understatement. We are disgusted.

"Our family, with the support of our legal team and Yousef’s many friends and supporters have battled the justice system since Yousef was killed – and it seems that again, from today onwards, the fight for justice for Yousef will continue.

"Over the coming days and weeks we will be discussing with our legal team the next steps.

"Yousef was the kindest, most charming young man. He always had a twinkle in his eye and the warmest smile which could instantly make you smile too, no matter what mood you were in.

"This is how we want to remember him, with his warm smile and his caring nature. The last conversation we ever had together was of his dreams of going to Oxford or Cambridge University – a dream that he was very much on track for.”

Meanwhile, a statement from Olliers Solicitors, representing Molnar, said the inquest came to 'the right decision'.

They said: "This has been a tragic and unusual case. It has attracted much comment in the press, on social media and even from politicians.

"The evidence has now been tested rigorously, both at trial before a high court judge and in an inquest before an experienced, senior coroner. The coroner’s decision today is consistent with the evidence and the verdict of the jury. It is the right decision. It shows we have a functioning justice system.

"Josh has accepted responsibility for his involvement in Yousef’s death. His remorse is genuine and heartfelt. He will live with this for the rest of his life.

"This was a truly tragic incident between friends and we hope today’s decision will bring an end to any further speculation.

"There are no winners here. A young life has been lost and a family devastated by his death. But to continue to suggest that Josh is guilty is wrong and those who persist in saying that are ignoring the conclusions of both court proceedings.

"Those conclusions ought now to be respected."