Jodie Chesney: Legacy of hope for teenager who ‘judged no one and loved everyone’
- Credit: Archant
The death of Jodie Chesney sent shockwaves through the country and brought home the grim reality of youth knife crime in Britain.
As symbolic purple ribbons sprang up around the crime scene in Harold Hill, the 17-year-old's family struggled to make sense of the tragedy.
Jodie's father Peter set up a charity, the Jodie Chesney Foundation, 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."
You may also want to watch:
Jodie, of Dagenham, was studying psychology, sociology and photography at Havering Sixth Form College and her friends, family and dog Woody "meant the world" to her.
He said: "She wore her heart on her sleeve and her infectious laugh would light up any room."
- 1 Dagenham pop-up shop sees young people sell their products and share skills
- 2 Road and rail round-up: Disruptions to travel in east London this week
- 3 Men reportedly 'impersonated officers' to get access to Barking home
- 4 380 homes and commercial space set to be built at Dagenham Dock
- 5 Dagenham advance in FA Cup with two late goals at Wealdstone
- 6 Jailed: Man who crashed stolen van then headbutted police officer
- 7 Ops planned as Barking and Dagenham marks London Trading Standards Week
- 8 Stephen Port inquests: Detective apologises to families for mistakes
- 9 Chain of 10,000 teddies to be displayed in memory of toddler Ava
- 10 'Life is hard, why make it harder?': Protesters call for new consultation over parking scheme roll out
Jodie, a keen classical pianist and photographer, had achieved the Duke of Edinburgh bronze and silver awards and was just a few weeks away from completing her gold.
She was also an active Scout member and "touched the lives of many other young people" through her volunteer work.
Chief Scout Bear Grylls, who lent his support to the Foundation, said Jodie was "one of our brightest and best".
He wrote: "She put everything into life and her dedication to her friends, her family, to Scouts and her community was incredible.
"When she represented us at the Royal Albert Hall at the Annual Festival of Remembrance, we could not have hoped for a better ambassador for the movement. Now's it's our turn to remember her."
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez also supported the charity, saying the community had been left in a "state of shock" at the "despicable violence".
During the trial, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: "Jodie was a fine young woman, a girl of achievement and ambition, without apparently an enemy in the world, a victim of a brutal attack of unprovoked violence."
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, who investigated her murder, described Jodie as a typical "girl next door".
He said the teenager's family were "absolutely devastated" and found hearing details about her death "extremely traumatic".
He said: "They lived the investigation with us. They want answers to questions I can't give them. Why did this happen? I cannot give them a satisfactory answer because I don't know myself.
"The devastation will continue, it's something, as a parent, you don't recover from."