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Jodie Chesney trial: Murder accused was searching for attacker on day of Dagenham teenager's death in Harold Hill, court told

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 24 October 2019

Four defendants deny the murder of Jodie Chesney. Picture: MPS

Four defendants deny the murder of Jodie Chesney. Picture: MPS

Archant

An amateur boxer had been on the lookout for people he had "issues with" on the day Jodie Chesney was murdered, a court has heard.

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, of Hillfoot Road, Collier Row, has blamed a 17-year-old boy for fatally stabbing the Dagenham student in Amy's Park, St Neot's Road, Harold Hill on the evening of March 1.

But, giving evidence at the Old Bailey, the youth said he went into the park with Mr Ong-a-Kwie, expecting him to do a drugs deal, and was not even paying attention until he heard a scream.

The boy told jurors that the pair had spent the day together before heading to Amy's Park, where 17-year-old Jodie had been relaxing with friends.

Earlier, they had been in a taxi when Mr Ong-a-Kwie suggested they look out for "them man", jurors heard.

The youth - who cannot be named for legal reasons because of his age - said: "It meant people we had issues with in the past, just people that stabbed Svenson, innit."

When they got back to Mr Ong-a-Kwie's hostel, he told the boy they had to go back to Harold Hill, the court was told.

The boy said: "He seemed all right. I would not say annoyed. If you know him, something was on his mind.

"He's come out, I said to him 'What's wrong? What are we doing?' He said 'I got to go back to the Hill'."

Defence lawyer Natasha Wong QC said: "Why did you think he had to go back to the Hill?"

The boy told jurors that he assumed it was to meet a drugs customer.

He said they got a lift in Manuel Petrovic's Vauxhall Corsa, with Mr Ong-a-Kwie in the front while he "chilled" and listened to music in the back with a 16-year-old boy.

When they arrived at Amy's Park, the boy said he got out with Mr Ong-a-Kwie because they had already spent the day together.

He said: "When the car stopped, Svenson said 'two minutes' to Manny because he was driving."

Ms Wong said: "Where did you think you were heading to?"

The defendant replied: "Obviously we were walking across the grass. I saw a group in the distance in the park.

"I'm expecting a deal so there was no need for me to walk up to the group so I'm a pace behind.

"Svenson is slightly in front. I have seen him get reasonably close, basically there to do the deal.

"I'm standing back, not paying attention, and I heard the scream first and, as I heard the scream, I looked towards the group where Svenson was and he's already near enough, next to me, moving past me."

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The defendant said he did not see what happened and started running when he heard the screaming.

He said: "My first thought was a deal gone wrong, definitely something went wrong."

When they got back in the car, there was a long silence, the court heard.

He said: "I hopped in. I looked straight at Svenson, initially thinking he would say something but he was quite quiet. I was just thinking about..."

The youth said he asked Mr Ong-a-Kwie what took place when they were dropped off by Mr Petrovic at another park.

He told jurors: "I said 'what was that about'. He just said 'I messed up, I [screwed] up'.

"I asked what do you mean by that? But he just went 'mate, I [screwed] up' - you could tell he did not want to talk at that time.

"There was that awkward silence between us. I had lit a cigarette. He asked if he could stay the night. I said obviously yeah let me ring my mum.

"In this situation it felt like longer than it must have been. Svenson said 'come'; that's when we walked towards the entrance we have just come in.

"We started walking then he dropped something on the floor."

The youth told jurors it was a silver black-handled knife.

He said: "I knew straight away in the park the scream, us running off, obviously somebody has been stabbed."

The defendant told jurors Mr Petrovic came back with a bag of clothes for Mr Ong-a-Kwie to change into.

Mr Ong-a-Kwie then set light to the clothes he had been wearing before they went to the boy's house, it was claimed.

When he saw the news of the stabbing, the boy said he panicked.

He said: "I could not talk to my brother about it or my mum - they would sort of flip out.

"I could not piece together why he would want to do that."

Days later, the boy said he threw away the clothes he had been wearing on the night of the stabbing.

He told jurors he did not know the name Jodie Chesney and had never met any of her group of friends.

The court has heard that Mr Ong-a-Kwie had previously suffered a stab wound to his left thigh.

The 17-year-old, Mr Ong-a-Kwie, Mr Petrovic, 20, of Highfield Road, Collier Row, and a 16-year-old youth, from east London, deny murder.

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