A coroner who investigated the killing of local teenager Yousef Makki has called for more to be done to tackle knife culture among some young people.
17-year-old Yousef Makki was tragically stabbed to death by Joshua Molnar with a flick knife during a row they had in the Hale Barns area of Trafford back on the evening of 2 March 2019 – and now, coroner Alison Mutch has said that swift action must be taken to prevent any further deaths.
The coroner said the knife that killed the Manchester Grammar School pupil was purchased online with ease “during break time at school”.
Molnar claimed self-defence and was cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of murder and manslaughter, with the coroner’s narrative conclusion also ruling out both unlawful killing and accidental death.
He was jailed for 16 months for the possession of a knife in a public place and perverting the course of justice by lying to police at the scene.
At the end of the inquest, the coroner said that there was “nothing impressive about the possession of a knife”, and that “work needs to be done in relation to the education of young people on the risks that can arise and on the all too tragic consequences of the possession of a knife.”
Ms Mutch has now voiced her concerns in a letter to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
In the letter, titled ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, she said: “The inquest heard evidence there was a culture amongst some teenagers who saw the possession of knives as being impressive, and who did not understand the risks inherent in carrying knives.
“The knife with which Yousef was stabbed had been purchased with ease during a break time at school [and] it was clear from the evidence schools and education play a vital role in attitudes to carrying knives by teenagers.”
She concluded: “In my opinion, action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.
“There is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.”
Mr Zahawi has 56 days to respond to the ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, and the response must contain the details of all action to be taken – including a timetable – otherwise, it must contain an explanation of why no action is to be taken.
Featured Image – Greater Manchester Police
Tim Martin is blaming ‘people drinking at home’ for UK Wetherspoons closures
It’s no secret that times are hard for hospitality right now, with pubs and restaurants shutting left, right and centre – but when UK pub giant Wetherspoons starts closing its doors you have to wonder if anyone can survive in this climate.
In September last year, the budget pub chain began listing sites for sale with 32 boozers going up as part of what it described as a “commercial decision”.
Now, it has listed even more – and arch-Brexiteer Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is apparently blaming people ‘drinking at home’ for the closures.
After the chain suffered a £30 million pound loss, CEO Tim Martin told PA news agency that people ‘have got into the habit of staying in’ ever since Covid and that that was why sales were down on 2019.
He also blamed lockdown restrictions brought in to stop the spread of Covid during the heigh of the pandemic for the pub’s losses,
He said: “The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.
“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost become the opposite situation as people have got into the habit of staying in.
“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”
The pub sales are being handled by CBRE and Savills. Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market.
“With more than half the portfolio located in London and the South East and other strong locations in the South West, Midlands and North we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants.”
Which JD Wetherspoon pubs are set for closure?
Pubs which have been sold:
Harvest Moon, Orpington
Alexander Bain, Wick
Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin
Moon on the Square, Basildon
Coal Orchard, Taunton
Running Horse, Airside Doncaster Airport
Wild Rose, Bootle
Edmund Halley, Lee Green
The Willow Grove, Southport
Postal Order, Worcester
North and South Wales Bank, Wrexham
Pubs still up for sale:
The Butlers Bell, Stafford
Worlds Inn, Romford
Silkstone Inn, Barnsley
Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath
The Percy Shaw, Halifax
Jolly Sailor, Hanham
The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green
The Moon & Bell, Loughborough
The Widow Frost, Mansfield
Foxley Hatch, Purley
The Rising Sun, Redditch
Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton
The Colombia Press, Watford
The Malthouse, Willenhall
The John Masefield, New Ferry
The Crosse Keys, Peebles
Lord Arthur Lee, Fareham
The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh
General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton
Plough & Harrow, Hammersmith
Thomas Leaper, Derby
Tollgate, Turnpike Lane
Millers Well, East Ham
Hudson Bay, Forest Gate
The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich
Capitol, Forest Hill
The Bankers Draft, Eltham
Moon on the Hill, Harrow
The Bank House, Cheltenham
Last Post, Loughton
Government refuses to deny reports HS2 may not run from Manchester to central London
The UK government is refusing to deny recent reports that HS2 may not run from Manchester directly through to central London.
The Sun reported this week that HS2 is currently in “shambles” and that rising inflation and construction costs could mean that trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead of London Euston, as has always been planned – with the paper saying transport bosses were considering pushing back the service’s Euston terminus to 2038, or even scrapping it all together.
The paper reported that trains would be instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs, which is about 8km (five miles) away from Euston.
Passengers would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the Elizabeth Line.
On top of all of this, the paper also reported that anywhere between a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered by the government, however ministers are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.
A statement provided by a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson reads: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement, and as well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”
HS2, which has the full name High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped in November 2021, but work on the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is now well under way, with a part of the line due to open by 2033, despite the fact the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route, and its potential environmental impact.
While a budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled, and the estimated cost of HS2 was therefore set between £72 billion and £98 billion at 2019 prices.
A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3 billion target for the first section of the line would be met.