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Dagenham scout Jodie Chesney fatally stabbed in Harold Hill was a 'blameless individual' caught up drug dealers' quarrel, court told

PUBLISHED: 17:08 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 17 September 2019

The Scout group which Jodie Chesney belonged to has paid tribute to the murdered teenager. Picture: MPS

The Scout group which Jodie Chesney belonged to has paid tribute to the murdered teenager. Picture: MPS

Archant

A popular scout from Dagenham was stabbed in a "cowardly attack" in Harold Hill for which she is unlikely to have been the intended target, a court heard today, Tuesday, September 17.

Purple ribbons in memory of Jodie have been displayed around the Old Bailey for the start of the trial. Picture: April RoachPurple ribbons in memory of Jodie have been displayed around the Old Bailey for the start of the trial. Picture: April Roach

Jodie Chesney was chatting and listening to music with friends in Amy's Park, St Neots Road, on Friday, March 1 when she was fatally stabbed in the back, the Old Bailey heard.

The jury was told that at about 9.20pm Jodie's boyfriend noticed two figures coming out of the darkness towards them.

He saw one of the men swing his right arm in the direction of Jodie's back.

Jodie screamed and the two men man off.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett said that for Jodie's friends in the playground, her killers had come out of nowhere and then vanished.

Using a mobile phone as a torch, a friend saw that Jodie had sustained a deep stab wound to her back and she was bleeding heavily.

Residents in the area came to help and the 17-year-old was rushed to hospital.

A team of doctors was dispatched to meet the ambulance halfway at an Esso Garage in Gants Hill.

Tributes for murder victim Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill.Tributes for murder victim Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill.

About an hour after she had been stabbed, Jodie was pronounced dead shortly before 10.30pm.

Mr Aylett said: "None of Jodie's friends had the slightest idea who could have been responsible for this cowardly attack.

"Indeed the attack was so unexpected and so sudden that a number of Jodie's friends had not even noticed the two males come upon them in the darkness.

"For all the expressions of sympathy and dismay, no one had any idea as to who could have been responsible for this shocking crime."

On the night of the murder a man had been driving his car in the area around the park where Jodie was stabbed.

He saw two men running up to a car and getting in. He described it to police as an old, black Vauxhall Corsa, possibly a 2008 model.

Mr Aylett told jurors that if it wasn't for the chance sighting of the car, the murder of Jodie might have gone undetected.

He said police discovered the car was registered to Manuel Petrovic and that just nine minutes before the murder, it had been driving away from Romford towards Harold Hill.

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He said the car was also spotted in Elvet Avenue, Gidea Park, on the night of Jodie's death.

A resident filmed from her window two young men shouting at each other in the road that the driver's keys had been stolen.

Mr Aylett told jurors that the footage was of Mr Petrovic and a 16-year-old boy who had carried on dealing drugs that night and appear to have been ambushed by their customers who stole their drugs and the key to Mr Petrovic's car.

Without his keys the car remained stuck in Elvet Avenue and residents had to call the police who later seized the vehicle.

By the time Mr Petrovic reported his car stolen on Monday, it had become the focus of the police's investigation into Jodie's death.

Mr Petrovic, 20, from Collier Row, Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, from Collier Row, and two youths, aged 16 and 17, from Barking and Romford, were subsequently charged with Jodie's murder.

All four defendants deny murder.

Mr Aylett told the court that one or more of Jodie's friends might have previously bought cannabis from one or more of the defendants.

"There is, however, nothing to suggest that Jodie was involved in the supply of drugs or that she might have upset anyone," said the prosecutor.

"Jodie's father Peter 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."

He suggested that all four defendants had gone together in Mr Petrovic's car in order to "mete out violence" and not collect money and drugs as Mr Petrovic later claimed to the police.

"The drug dealing world is one of turf wars, rivalries and pathetic claims for respect," said the prosecutor.

"And when drug dealers fall out, they do not take their problems to the police.

"Instead, they take matters into their own hands, prepared to use serious violence in order to prove whatever point it is that they wish to make."

He continued: "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 consequence of an all-too casual approach to the carrying and using of knives."

The Havering Sixth Form College student had been studying three A-levels and was weeks away from completing her Duke of Edinburgh gold award.

The trial continues.

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