JODIE Chesney’s sobbing boyfriend held the dying 17-year-old Girl Scout in his arms after she was stabbed by a drugs gang in a “pathetic” turf war, a court heard today.
Jodie, 17, had been playing music and smoking cannabis with friends near a playground at Harold Hill, Romford, on March 1 when she was knifed in the back.
Manuel Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, and two youths, aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny her murder.
At around 9.20pm her boyfriend, Eddie Coyle, spotted two figures coming out of the darkness noiselessly towards them.
He saw the taller of the pair swing his right arm at Jodie’s back, the Old Bailey heard.
Jodie screamed and collapsed to the ground as the two figures ran off into the darkness, jurors were told.
Her boyfriend caught her as she fell and screamed and cried to keep her awake, the court heart.
Using a mobile phone as a torch, Jodie’s friends could see she had suffered a deep wound to her back which bled heavily.
A local resident heard her screams and came to help as Jodie’s friends became “hysterical”, jurors heard.
By the time an ambulance arrived, she showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead en route to hospital at the front of a petrol station.
Relatives of Jodie left the court today in tears after hearing the details of how she died.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors: “Jodie’s boyfriend, Eddie Coyle says that, at some time after 9pm – by which time they had all been in the park for a couple of hours and it was dark – he noticed two males at the side entrance, namely the Retford Road gate.
“Eddie says that the taller youth came up behind Jodie and swung his right arm downwards towards Jodie.
“Eddie could see something black in his hand, at this a shorter male was standing behind the taller one.
“Jodie fell from that bench table. Eddie caught her as she fell and eased her to the ground.
“He realised immediately that she had been stabbed.
“Eddie was crying and screaming at Jodie to try and keep her awake.
“To Jodie’s friends in the playground, her killers had come out of nowhere and then vanished.”
Mr Aylett said that none of Jodie’s friends had any idea who was responsible for the “terrible and cowardly” attack.
Following national publicity, police got a “breakthrough” when a witness reported two males getting into a stationary black Vauxhall Corsa.
Mr Aylett said but for the “chance sighting” Jodie’s murder might have gone unsolved.
A couple of hours after the killing, a black Corsa registered to Petrovic was found abandoned about two miles away, he said.
Following his arrest, Petrovic admitted driving to Harold Hill with a friend and two others who had gone into the park to collect money and drugs.
He denied knowing the pair were armed beforehand, the court heard.
Investigators identified Petrovic’s friend and the two others through CCTV footage and mobile phone data, jurors heard.
DRUG TURF WAR
Mr Aylett said Jodie was a “beautiful, well liked, fun” young woman who had nothing to do with 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.
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“The prosecution allege that all four defendants had gone together in Petrovic’s car to Harold Hill in order to mete out violence – and 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.”
The defendants, all allegedly involved in drug dealing, deny murder.
The trial continues.