The family of Jodie Chesney wept today as a court heard of the catastrophic knife wound she sustained after getting caught up in a ‘pathetic turf-war between drug dealers’.
Girl scout Jodie, 17, was stabbed in the back as she listened to music with friends at a park in Harold Hill, east London, on March 1.
Prosecutors say she was ‘an entirely blameless individual who got caught up in some quarrel between drug dealers’.
Jodie’s family shed tears in the Old Bailey’s public gallery as the court heard she died from a single, 7in-deep wound to the back.
Croatian Manuel Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and two boys, aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named, deny her murder.
The killers were seen ‘fist-bumping’ after the fatal attack, the jury were told.
Jodie, 17, was stabbed to death while playing music in a park with friends close to St Neot’s Road, Harold Hill, in Romford, east London, on March 1. A prosecutor today said she was ‘an entirely blameless individual who got caught up in some quarrel between drug dealers’
Manuel Petrovic, 20, (left) and Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, (right) are on trial. Prosecutors say they went to the park to ‘mete out violence in some quarrel between drug dealers’
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told the Old Bailey that Jodie’s father has described her as a ‘beautiful, well liked, fun, young woman who judged no one and loved everyone.’
‘So, the prosecution suggest that Jodie is unlikely to have been the intended target; more likely is that the intended target was somebody else altogether.
‘The drug-dealing world is one of turf-wars, rivalries and pathetic claims for respect. And when drug-dealers fall out, they do not take their problems to the police.
‘Instead, they take matters into their own hands, and they are prepared to use serious violence in order to prove whatever point it is they wish to make.’
He continued: ‘The prosecution allege that all four defendants had gone together in Petrovic’s car to Harold Hill in order to mete out violence – and not as Petrovic has claimed, to collect money and drugs.
‘If the prosecution are right in saying that Jodie Chesney was an entirely blameless individual who got caught up in some quarrel between drug dealers, then her murder was the terrible but predictable consequence of an all too casual approach to the carrying – and using – of knives.’
Prosecutors claim Petrovic drove Ong-a-Kwie and the two boys to the scene in his black Vauxhall Corsa.
Manuel Petrovic (left) and Svenson Ong-a-kwie (right) both deny Jodie’s murder
Jodie died in this park in east London. Prosecutors say she was ‘entirely blameless’ and became caught up in a violent drugs turf war
All four were all involved in drug dealing and some of them had dealt drugs to Jodie’s friends, the Old Bailey heard.
At about 9.20pm, Jodie’s boyfriend noticed two figures coming out of the darkness noiselessly towards them.
He saw the taller of the pair swing his right arm at Jodie’s back, the Old Bailey heard.
Jodie screamed and the two figures disappeared into the darkness, jurors were told.
The stabbing left the sixth form student bleeding heavily as her friends battled in vain to save her around 9:20pm.
Despite the efforts of a local resident, paramedics and police, Jodie was pronounced dead on the floor of Esso Garage petrol station in Gants Hill an hour later.
A local resident heard her screams and came to help as Jodie’s friends became ‘hysterical’, jurors heard.
Jodie Chesney’s mother Joanne (left) and father Peter arrive at court today ahead of the trial of two men and two youths accused of her murder
Lucy Chesney, Jodie’s sister, was also seen arriving at the Old Bailey this morning
By the time an ambulance arrived, she showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead en route to hospital on the forecourt of a petrol station.
Prosecutor Mr Aylett told jurors that none of Jodie’s friends had any idea who was responsible for the ‘terrible and cowardly’ attack.
A witness saw two of the men ‘fist-bumping one another’ next to a car nearby shortly after the attack, the court heard.
The drug dealers were then robbed of their stash, mobile phones and the keys to their getaway car two hours later in a ‘bizarre and apparently unconnected’ incident, jurors were told.
The prosecutor said: ‘On Friday 1st March, and no more than two hours after the murder of Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill, the first defendant Manuel Petrovic and the second defendant were involved in a curious incident in Gidea Park.
‘It is not entirely clear what happened, but it looks as though Manuel Petrovic and the 16-year-old had gone to Gidea Park in order to sell drugs.
‘It may be that they were ambushed by their “customers” – who then stole their drugs.
‘This is two hours after the murder of Jodie and, in any event, what is clear is that their mobile telephones were stolen and the key to the Vauxhall Corsa was taken.
‘The car was stuck in the middle of the road and local residents had to call the police.’
A bow tied to railings following Jodie’s shocking death at the park in March this year
Following national publicity, police got a ‘breakthrough’ when a witness reported two males getting into a stationary black Vauxhall Corsa.
Mr Aylett said but for the ‘chance sighting’ Jodie’s murder might have gone unsolved.
A couple of hours after the killing, a black Corsa registered to the defendant Manuel Petrovic was found abandoned about two miles away, he said.
Following his arrest, Petrovic admitted driving to Harold Hill with a friend and two others who had gone into the park to collect money and drugs.
He denied knowing the pair were armed beforehand, the court heard.
Investigators identified Petrovic’s friend and the two others through CCTV footage and mobile phone data, jurors heard.
Croatian Manuel Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and two boys, aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named, deny murder.