A drug dealer and his young “runner” were today convicted of the murder of Girl Scout Jodie Chesney, 17, after she was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in a London park.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, were today found guilty of the killing following a lengthy trial.
Jodie, 17, was an innocent victim who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked “drug feud” attack in a park in Harold Hill, east London in March.
Police have admitted they may never know the true motive for the stabbing, but prosecutors believe Ong-a-Kwie wanted to get revenge for being knifed by a rival a few months earlier. It is thought he may have mistakenly believed his rivals were in the park at the time and wrongly stabbed Jodie.
Prosecutors said it was a case of mistaken identity and Jodie was a victim of the “casual violence” all too regularly carried out by young thugs in London’s drug-dealing world.
Jodie’s family has expressed relief and hailed “justice” for the deceased after her killers were convicted of her murder on Friday, November 8.
Jodie’s father, Peter Chesney, 39, expressed his relief at the two guilty verdicts outside court this afternoon, saying: ‘I’m over the moon about. We got them… Justice for Jodie. For Jodie!”
He clenched his fists as he spoke with tears in his eyes. He then hugged detectives who helped crack the case.
Jodie and her friends had been smoking cannabis and listening to music in a park when she was stabbed in the back on the evening of March 1, 2019. She was with her boyfriend Eddie Coyle at the time she was murdered. He witnessed the stabbing and gave evidence in the drug dealers’ trial.
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 the hospital from an 18cm deep stab wound to the back which almost passed right through her body.
Both of those convicted had denied being involved in Jodie’s death, each blaming the other for the stabbing. Two co-defendants Manual Petrovic, 20, and a 16-year-old boy, were cleared of murder.
The trial has heard how Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old went into the park to carry out the stabbing as the two others waited in the car.
Shortly before the murder, Ong-a-Kwie had summoned the other three to his home for the revenge mission, telling Petrovic in a text message: “I need you here ASAP.”
After the murder, investigators were in the dark, with no motive, no CCTV and no clear picture of what had happened in the “pitch black” park. The case was eventually cracked after a motorist came forward to report Mr Petrovic’s Corsa in a road nearby.
In the coming days, police seized key CCTV and phone evidence linking Mr Petrovic to the rest of the defendants, who turned on each other at their Old Bailey trial, although the 16-year-old declined to give evidence.
Ong-a-Kwie admitted being in the park but said the 17-year-old had stabbed Jodie, thinking she was a youth called “Tash”. In turn, the 17-year-old said Ong-a-Kwie was responsible and had even confessed that he “messed up” before disposing of the knife and burning his clothes.
Mr Petrovic said he knew nothing of what was about to happen in the park.
Petrovic later told a prison visitor: “They went to bang out (attack) on their ops (rivals) and banged out the wrong people. Because I know that…It was to do with Svenson’s op – they cheffed (stabbed) him up a couple of months or something, a couple of months before.
“Someone gave him the drop (tip-off). He went to ride out and rid out on the wrong people in the park and they thought it was them because they chill in the area. That’s why she (Jodie) got it from behind.”
Speaking after today’s verdicts, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams said the attack could have been on “anybody’s daughter”.
He added: “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.”