ITV Report 7 November 2019 at 3:42pm Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering girl scout Jodie Chesney in a park in east London. Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy were convicted of killing the 17-year-old schoolgirl, but their co-defendants Manuel Petrovic, 20, and a…
- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner
Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering girl scout Jodie Chesney in a park in east London.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy were convicted of killing the 17-year-old schoolgirl, but their co-defendants Manuel Petrovic, 20, and a 16-year-old boy were cleared of the murder charge.
Jodie had been with a group of her friends smoking and listening to music on a bench in Amy’s Park, Harold Hill, east London, when she was stabbed in the back on the night of March 1.
The jury deliberated for less than six hours before reaching the decision, but there was little reaction from the defendants as the verdicts were delivered by the jury foreman at the Old Bailey.
The trial heard Jodie became a victim of “casual violence” in a case of mistaken identity in the drug-dealing world.
Although the motive was unclear, the court was told how the defendants had been involved in numerous violent clashes as they fought to protect their turf.
Each had denied being involved in Jodie’s death, with two blaming each other for the stabbing.
Both had come from broken homes and turned to drug dealing as a way of making “easy money”.
Chilling CCTV was played in the trial, capturing the shadowy figures of Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old disappearing into the park before the sounds of Jodie screaming could be heard.
Members of Jodie’s family, including father Peter and sister Lucy, erupted with cheers of “yes!” and clenched their fists as the guilty verdicts were delivered.
Earlier, there were tears from Jodie’s sister as the not-guilty verdicts were delivered for murder charges against Manual Petrovic and the 16-year-old boy.
The family left the court as soon as the verdicts were delivered.
Peter Chesney told ITV News “he will never come to terms” with his daughter’s death.
“She was just a kind, lovely, beautiful young lady…she didn’t deserve it,” he added.
He said March 1 – the day Jodie was murdered – was “the worst day of my life.”
“We were out celebrating my birthday…got a phone call from the police that night to tell me that Jodie had been attacked, we were on our way to the hospital and then I heard in the police van, take Peter home because she is gone,” Peter said.
Giving evidence, Jodie’s boyfriend Eddie Coyle, 18, told how she collapsed in his arms in front of their horrified friends.
He said he thought the taller of the two assailants – said to be 6ft 2in Ong-a-Kwie – was about to punch Jodie when he “swung his arm out” and stabbed her.
Mr Coyle said: “She was in shock at first. She started screaming continuously, very loud, about two minutes straight. After she stopped screaming she began to faint.”
Jodie died before she arrived at hospital from a 18cm deep stab wound to the back which almost passed right through her body.
After the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams said “girl next door” Jodie’s murder was a tragedy which shocked the nation.
He added: “It could have been anybody’s daughter. She was a very nice girl, she had a small circle of friends, she did well at school, worked in the community, She was in the Scouts. She had been up to Downing Street. She was the girl next door.
“She was just an ordinary girl and that’s the tragedy. She was an ordinary girl going about her ordinary business and has fallen foul of these people.
“They have gone there purposefully to stab somebody and they have not cared who they stabbed. They stabbed a 17-year-old girl in the back for no reason.”
After the stabbing, purple ribbons sprang up around the crime scene as Jodie’s family came to terms with the sudden loss.
Jodie’s father Peter set up a charity, the Jodie Chesney Foundation after her death, aimed at taking action to steer young people away from knife crime.
In a tribute on its website, Mr Chesney said his daughter was a “beautiful person” who was just “blossoming into a wonderful young woman” when her life was cut short.
He said: “She was a beautiful, well-liked, fun young woman who judged no-one and loved everyone. As a little girl she was very shy, but her confidence grew from strength to strength as she got older.”
He said: “She wore her heart on her sleeve and her infectious laugh would light up any room.”
The defendants will be sentenced on November 18.