Murdered teenager Jodie ‘got caught up in quarrel between drug dealers’

A teenager was stabbed to death after getting caught up in an argument between drug dealers and was unlikely to have been the intended target, a court has been told.

Jodie Chesney, 17, had been with friends playing music and smoking cannabis in an east London park when she was stabbed in the back on 1 March.

Manuel Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, and two youths, aged 16 and 17, from Barking and Romford, deny murdering her.

The Old Bailey heard that Jodie’s boyfriend, Eddie Coyle, had noticed two figures coming towards them at about 9.20pm that night. The taller of the two swung his right arm at Jodie’s back and she screamed before both of them disappeared.

The jury was told that Mr Coyle, 18, caught Jodie as she fell, bleeding heavily from the wound in her back.

An ambulance was called but medics realised en route that time was running out so doctors met them on the forecourt of a petrol station nearby.

Doctors carried out emergency surgery in a desperate attempt to get Jodie’s heart beating again but it was on that forecourt, about an hour after she had been stabbed, that she was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination found that a single stab wound to her back, 8cm to the right of her spine, had caused her lung to collapse.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors it had been a “chance sighting” of two men getting into a black Vauxhall Corsa that had provided the “breakthrough” in the case.

The vehicle was registered to defendant Manuel Petrovic and it was found about two miles from the scene of the stabbing, Mr Aylett said.

Petrovic told police after his arrest that he had driven to the park at Harold Hill with a friend and two others who wanted to get money and drugs.

But he denied knowing the pair were armed, the court was told.

The jury heard that the remaining three members of the group were identified using CCTV footage and mobile phone data.

Mr Aylett said that Jodie, described as a “beautiful, well-liked and fun” young woman, was not involved in drug dealing and was “unlikely” to have been the intended target.

He told jurors: “The drug-dealing world is one of turf wars, rivalries and pathetic claims for ‘respect’.

“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.

“The prosecution allege that all four defendants had gone together in Petrovic’s car to Harold Hill in order to mete out violence – not, as Petrovic has claimed, to collect money and drugs.

“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 but predictable consequence of an all-too casual approach to the carrying – and using – of knives.”

At the time of her death Jodie, a Girl Scout, 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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