Jodie Chesney murder: Girl scout teenage killers jailed for life

The two teenagers who murdered Jodie Chesney in an east London park have been sentenced to life in prison.

Ms Chesney, 17, was stabbed to death in a park in Romford on 1 March.

The popular student had been smoking cannabis and listening to music with friends in Harold Hill when she was stabbed in the back.

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Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, were convicted of her murder earlier this month.

Isaacs’ identity was revealed for the first time today after a judge decided to lift reporting restrictions.

Their co-defendants, Manuel Petrovic, 20, and a 16-year-old boy, were cleared of murder.

In a case of mistaken identity, Ms Chesney, a girl scout, became a victim of “casual violence” in a drugs turf war, jurors heard.

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, pictured, was found guilty of Jodie Chesney's murder, along with a 17-year-old boy (PA)
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, pictured, was found guilty of Jodie Chesney's murder, along with a 17-year-old boy (PA)

Although the motive was unclear, the court was told how the defendants had been involved in numerous violent clashes as they fought to protect their turf.

The court heard how Ms Chesney died from an 18cm deep knife wound, which almost passed right through her body, by a “silent killer” who snuck up on the group in the dark.

Jodie Chesney was murdered in a park in east London in March (PA)
Jodie Chesney was murdered in a park in east London in March (PA)
Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death while socialising with friends (PA)
Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death while socialising with friends (PA)

Ms Chesney died at the scene in Harold Hill, east London, just over an hour after police were called to the park at 9.25pm.

There was no CCTV footage of the attack, but images showed shadowy figures getting out of Petrovic’s car and running into Amy’s Park seconds earlier.

The 17-year-old defendant claimed in his evidence that Ong-a-Kwie had been looking for people he had “issues with in the past”.

In turn, Ong-a-Kwie said the 17-year-old told him he stabbed someone, thinking it was another youth called “Tash”.

During the trial, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: “Jodie was a fine young woman, a girl of achievement and ambition, without apparently an enemy in the world, a victim of a brutal attack of unprovoked violence.”

Flowers near the scene in St Neot's Road in Harold Hill, east London, where 17-year-old Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death (Picture: PA)
Flowers near the scene in St Neot's Road in Harold Hill, east London, where 17-year-old Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death (Picture: PA)

After the pair were convicted of murder, Ms Chesney’s father, Peter, shouted “We got them”.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, of Scotland Yard, said “girl next door” Ms Chesney’s murder was a tragedy which shocked the nation.

“It could have been anybody’s daughter,” he said. “She was a very nice girl, she had a small circle of friends, she did well at school, worked in the community, she was in the Scouts. She had been up to Downing Street. She was the girl next door.

“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.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Chesney said his daughter’s murder had “destroyed“ his life.

He said: “I have no idea how I am going to continue with my life or even come to terms with the loss.”

Jodie Chesney's father Peter speaks outside the Old Bailey in London earlier this month after Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy were found guilty of her murder (PA)
Jodie Chesney's father Peter speaks outside the Old Bailey in London earlier this month after Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy were found guilty of her murder (PA)

The defendants were said to have come from broken homes and turned to drug-dealing as a way of making “easy money”.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC had told jurors they took a “casual approach to violence” in a world where knife crime was “routine”.

The court had heard how Ong-a-Kwie had been knifed in the thigh six months before and was on the lookout for his assailants on the day of the murder.

On the evening of 1 March, Mr Petrovic had driven the defendants to Amy’s Park in Harold Hill, east London, after Ong-a-Kwie sent an urgent request for a lift.

Mr Petrovic did a U-turn, turned off his headlights and waited in the car with the 16-year-old defendant as Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old ran in armed with a knife.

A purple bow attached to railings at Harold Hill, east London, in memory of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney (Picture: PA)
A purple bow attached to railings at Harold Hill, east London, in memory of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney (Picture: PA)

Chilling CCTV captured the shadowy figures of Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old disappearing into the park before the sounds of Jodie screaming could be heard.

Giving evidence, Ms Chesney’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.”

She died before she arrived at hospital.

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