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Killed by a rich kid
A new documentary about the death of Yousef Makki, plus the rest of your weekly briefing
Good evening Millers — our weatherman Martin is promising “unseasonably warm” days this week with lots of sunshine. There’s not much evidence of that today but we will be patient. Scroll down for his full forecast, plus a beautiful period Home of the Week and details of tonight’s long-awaited documentary about the death of Yousef Makki.
🎉 This edition going out to 18,000 Millers! Welcome to the hundreds of new readers who have joined our list since our editorial about Reach Plc “taking on” The Mill — and thanks to those of you who recruited friends after reading that piece. If you know someone who might enjoy getting our emails, please do forward this one on and encourage them to join our list.
On Saturday we published a great piece about the battle to save fan-owned Rochdale AFC. “On 13th April 2021, a Rolls Royce pulled up at Rochdale AFC’s stadium, the Crown Oil Arena. It was a little out of place, and fans took notice,” writes Jack Walton. The piece had a great response on Twitter, including from Andy Mitten, the long-standing editor of United We Stand, the Manchester United fanzine.
Coming up for Mill members this week: we speak to the man running Greater Manchester’s “violence reduction unit”; Jack catches up with Kateryna, who we met in a recent piece and whose family are arriving as refugees from a bombed-out city in eastern Ukraine; and we meet Tim Williams, the artistic director of music ensemble Psappha.
The big story: Killed by a rich kid
Top line: Tonight, a new documentary will explore one of Manchester’s most troubling and controversial crimes of recent years: the killing of schoolboy Yousef Makki. The 17-year-old bursary student from Burnage died after being stabbed in the heart by his friend Joshua Molnar three years ago, but Molnar was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter after arguing that he acted in self-defence.
The film: It’s been known for some time that Channel 4 were working on a documentary about the case, and it finally airs tonight at 9pm. Under the title Killed by a Rich Kid, the film explores what happened at Molnar's trial and last year’s inquest into Makki's death, which did not find sufficient evidence to return a finding of unlawful killing (we covered it from the courtroom at the time). Makki's family are applying for a judicial review of the inquest.
New body camera footage, obtained by the documentary makers after a long legal fight, shows Molnar standing on the pavement of Gorse Bank Road in Hale Barns, crying. His shirt is missing because he tried to use it to stem the bleeding from the wound in Makki's chest. Molnar's face is lit blue by sirens as officers ask him what happened. “Yousef Makki has walked ahead, and we’ve come round the corner, and he’s just fallen over,” he tells them. “The guy was coughing up blood."
Changing accounts: Molnar lied to police on the scene, suggesting Makki might have been attacked by "a group of black guys". A few hours later, Molnar admitted to stabbing Yousef himself in an act of self-defence.
The team behind the documentary were granted access to the Makki family and spent two years following them as they came to terms with their loss.
Director Tom Reeves said: “Whilst filming with them, I have been struck by their determination in refusing to accept that justice was served in this case and their courage in campaigning to keep Yousef’s name alive.”
On why the family took part in the filming, Jade Akoum, Makki’s sister, said: “we want answers, and this is another way of trying to get them."
In an interview with the Guardian, Akoum talks about how the trial damaged her faith in due process.
I don’t trust any more. I don’t have faith in the police, in the courts. The idea that we’re all equal and are treated the same regardless of class and money? I’m naive to have believed it.
Killed by a Rich Kid airs on Channel 4 at 9pm, and will be available to view online here.
This week’s weather 🌤
Our weather forecast comes from local weatherman Martin Miles, who says: “Unseasonably warm this week with large amounts of sunshine. Gardeners beware, there will still be a risk of frost overnight, especially in rural areas.”
Tuesday 🌤 Warm and mostly sunny, although the odd shower may break out later in the afternoon. Highs of 18°c.
Wednesday🌤Dry, warm and sunny. Highs of 19°c.
Thursday 🌤 Dry and warm with plenty of sunny spells. Highs of 18°c.
Friday🌤 Dry with sunny spells. Cool than of late. Highs of 16°c.
Weekend 🌤 Remaining settled with pleasant daytime temperatures.
You can find the latest forecast at Manchester Weather on Facebook. Daily forecasts are published at 6.15am.
Home of the week
This beautiful period house in Sale could either be a very expensive family home (it’s on the market for £1.2 million) or equally it could “allow investors to create a house of multiple occupation (HMO),” says the agent.
Other local news in brief
NHS England is trying to force The Christie — the UK’s leading cancer trust and the crown jewel of Manchester’s health service — to publicly apologise to a group of whistleblowers. It follows the trust’s dismissive response to an external review into multiple concerns raised by staff, including 20 current and former employees who described “an experience of bullying, harassment and racial prejudice” (we covered that back in January). Lawrence Dunhill, a reporter at the Health Service Journal who has reported on this story, told us: “It appears as though The Christie thoroughly dislikes external scrutiny and criticism, even though listening to concerns and learning from them is now essential for a modern NHS hospital.” More here.
A large area of woodland planted by volunteers in 2012 has been destroyed by a fire that swept through Dove Stone reservoir over the weekend. Dove Stone, in Oldham, has become a consistent victim of blazes over the past few years, as thousands routinely flock there on hot days. The RSPB, who will be replanting the trees, have joined the fire service in a plea to visitors to avoid having BBQs or campfires in the area. More here.
A well-thumbed first edition of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, bought for 50p at a Manchester charity shop and scribbled with illustrations, has sold for £15,500 at auction. Another, kept in slightly better condition, sold for £70,000. More here.
Rates of Covid-19 in Greater Manchester are still rising. The region’s case rate is 457.6, up 38.4% in a week, compared to England’s 743.8, up 36.3%. Trafford has the highest infection rate, Rochdale has the lowest. An average of three Covid-19 patients are dying in GM hospitals each day at the moment, half the average of six we were seeing for months at the end of last year.
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November 1969 — the submarine H.M.S Onyx passes through the Barton Bridge area of the Manchester Ship Canal. Onyx was leading a second submarine, H.M.S Olympus — in the background — to the Manchester Docks.
Our to do list
📺 Watch | Channel 4 is showing Killed by A Rich Kid this evening at 9pm, exploring the death of Yousef Makki and why no one was found guilty of murder. Watch here.
💃 Festival | HOME is currently hosting ¡Viva!, its annual celebration of Spanish and Latin American culture. The festival is in its 28th year, and it looks like an exciting lineup of films and Q&As. Book here.
🎥 Film | Chapeltown Picture House is hosting Doc’n Roll Manchester, which is showing film Man Down, and there’ll be a Q&A and DJ set afterwards. It kicks off on Friday at 7pm. Book here.
📚 Book launch | Fly on the Wall Press are launching their new collection of short stories called Of Myths and Mothers at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Oxford Road on Friday at 6.30pm. Book here.
⌨ Exhibition | Anthony Burgess’s typewriters are now on display from today until Friday at the Burgess Foundation just behind Oxford Road Station. If you know your Olivettis from your Olympias, this is for you. Info here.
🥘 Eat | We recommend heading over to Nila’s Burmese Cafe in Stretford, which serves delicious home-cooked food in a colourful and cosy setting. It’s at 386 Third Ave, Trafford Park, Stretford, M17 1JE. Info here.
✍ Workshop | There’s an online creative writing group session this evening organised by Creative Industries Trafford. It starts at 6.30 so chop, chop. Book here.
Our favourite reads
Steven Bartlett’s self-help guide to helping himself — New Statesman
The entrepreneur Steve Barlett, known for building up his massive social media marketing firm Social Chain in Manchester and then joining Dragons Den, “styles himself as a business guru but beneath the clichés lies a thinly veiled craving for celebrity,” writes Sarah Manavis in a withering piece. "Despite the accolades and his increasing public presence as a voice for modern business, he is, in reality, more of a bluffer than a prodigy — an influencer and motivational speaker masquerading as a marketing genius.”
Jon Savage, who for many people was the best chronicler of Manchester’s music scene, delves into the “low-key looks of the long mac brigade”, and takes a look at the fashion tastes of one of Manchester’s most iconic bands. “Ian Curtis has a short Caesar haircut; Peter Hook’s hair is short and dyed blonde, while Sumner sports a short-sleeved polo shirt, skinny tie and a Perry Boy flick. The group are serious, challenging: originating in punk but not at all punk.”
Unit mistrust — Big Issue North
In 2020, Wigan Council appointed Galleries25, which is a joint venture between developer Cityheart and Beijing Construction Engineering Group International (BCEGI), for a £130 million redevelopment of the Galleries Shopping Centre. Photojournalist Ryan Ashcroft visited Wigan Market to hear traders’ views on redevelopment. One stallholder said: “The millions given over to Chinese investment companies could have been better spent improving infrastructure and retail around the town.”
Greater Manchester’s politics has been known for its stability and relative sense of calm in recent years, whereas over in Liverpool local government has descended into chaos, with arrests of key figures at the council, a damning government report and then the imposition of “commissioners” — who went in to sort the whole thing out. Our sister newsletter over there, The Post, published this great long read about the problems over the weekend, including a rare interview with the lead commissioner, a former police officer who likens the council to a suspect that could be arrested at any moment.