ONE of the men accused of murdering Girl Scout Jodie Chesney told a court today he was “deeply saddened” by her death.
The 17-year-old 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.
The “blameless” sixth-former was fatally stabbed in the east London park after she got caught up in a “pathetic” drugs turf war, jurors were told.
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.
Petrovic was arrested within days of her death after his Vauxhall Corsa was linked to the scene around the time of the stabbing, the Old Bailey heard.
He denied involvement in Jodie’s murder and said his car had been stolen in a knifepoint robbery.
But he later admitted owning the Vauxhall and having a mobile phone he used to sell cannabis.
He said: “I would like to say that I have no involvement in the murder of Jodie Chesney. I am deeply saddened by her death and feel for her friends and family.
“A young life has been taken away in what seems to be an unprovoked attack on an innocent girl who had her whole life ahead of her.”
‘KNIFE POINT ROBBERY’
Petrovic said he had been with a friend on March 1 who received a call from Man A asking for a lift.
They picked up Man A, who was with another person, Man B, and they drove to Harold Hill so Man A could “collect some weed and some money”, he said.
The two unnamed men got out at Harold Hill, leaving Petrovic and his friend in the car, according to the statement.
Petrovic stated: “At this point I would like to add that I was carrying a quantity of cannabis on me. This was to sell as and when I received calls/text messages.”
He said Man A and B were gone up to five minutes and “seemed calm” when they returned.
He said: “There was nothing unusual about their behaviour. Nothing about them made me suspicious. I did not see either of them carrying anything.
“My friend and I were told that Man A was collecting money and drugs.”
After dropping the two men off, Petrovic claimed a black male had pulled a knife to his throat and snatched his car keys.
He said: “The next day I heard that a girl had been stabbed in Harold Hill. I hoped it had nothing to do with why I was in the area with Man A and Man B.”
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors: “You may recall Petrovic’s claim to have been ‘deeply saddened’ by Jodie’s death. Nonetheless, Petrovic was not willing to help the police.
“He continued to make no comment until the police gave up asking questions.”
The court heard yesterday how Jodie’s boyfriend Eddie Coyle watched in horror as two suspects approached and, without saying anything, the taller of the pair swung a knife into her.
Mr Aylett described her murder in Harold Hill, East London, on March 1 this year as “the terrible but predictable consequence of an all too casual approach to the carrying and using of knives”.
Jodie collapsed from a deep-penetrating wound close to her spine following the 9.20pm attack.
Jodie was pronounced dead an hour later at an Esso petrol station in Gants Hill.
Mr Aylett told the court how Jodie’s dad described his daughter as a “beautiful, well-liked, fun, young woman who judged no-one and loved everyone.”
The defendants, all allegedly involved in drug dealing, deny murder.
The trial continues.