Two teenagers have been found guilty of murder for fatally stabbing a girl scout to death in an east London park.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named were convicted over the death of Jodie Chesney, 17, who was “caught up in a quarrel between drug dealers” when she was stabbed to death while smoking cannabis and playing music in a park with friends on March 1 of this year.
Their co-defendants Manual Petrovic, 20, and a 16-year-old boy were cleared of murder.
In a case of mistaken identity, Ms Chesney became a victim of “casual violence” in the drug-dealing world, jurors heard.
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 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.
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.
Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old boy are due to be sentenced on November 18 at the Old Bailey.
There was no CCTV footage of the attack on Jodie that night.
However, 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”.
Prosecutors opened the murder case in September at the Old Bailey as Jodie’s family watched from the public gallery.
On Wednesday, the jury retired to deliberate their verdict after a 33 day trial around the girl’s death, of which shocked the nation.
Judge Wendy Joseph QC sent the jury of five women and seven men out to deliberate on their verdicts at 3.30pm.
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Judge Joseph said the "central dispute" to the trial was whether Svenson Ong-a-Kwie and the 17-year-old boy stabbed Ms Chesney.
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.”
He said: “They lived the investigation with us. They want answers to questions I can’t give them. Why did this happen? I cannot give them a satisfactory answer because I don’t know myself.
“The devastation will continue, it’s something, as a parent, you don’t recover from.”
On Thursday, Ms Chesney’s father Peter shouted “We got them” as Judge Joseph read out her guilty verdict.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, of Scotland Yard, said “girl next door” Jodie’s murder was a tragedy which shocked the nation.
He added: “It could have been anybody’s daughter. 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.”
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, also known as Spencer, was a “charismatic and charming” cannabis dealer – with a fondness for carrying knives.
He ran a slick drugs line, sending texts to hundreds of customers advertising cocaine and “pineapple express” cannabis – so-called after the Seth Rogan movie about stoners.
It was suggested Ong-a-Kwie was the driving force behind the murder because he wanted revenge for an earlier stabbing by another youth.
The 17-year-old was considered one of Ong-a-Kwie’s “runners” and was taken into care at a young age after his mother suffered from mental illness and was unable to cope.
It was alleged in court that the 17-year-old was responsible for “cheffing” another youngster last September, when Ong-a-Kwie was also present.
The unnamed boy previously had a conviction for actual bodily harm and possessing a pointed article following an incident involving a shopkeeper and a screwdriver.