- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Lucy Watson
A popular Girl Scout was killed in a “terrible and cowardly” stabbing after getting caught up in a drug turf war, a court has heard.
Jodie Chesney, 17, was with friends, playing music and smoking cannabis in a park in Harold Hill, east London, when she was knifed in the back on March 1.
At about 9.20pm, her boyfriend noticed 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 the two figures disappeared into the darkness, jurors were told.
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 on the forecourt of a petrol station.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors 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 the defendant Manuel 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.
Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, and two youths, aged 16 and 17, from Barking and Romford, were subsequently charged with Jodie’s murder.
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.
“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.”
At the time of her death, Jodie was living with her father Peter, step mother Joanne and older sister Lucy in Dagenham.
The Havering Sixth Form College student had been studying three A levels and was weeks away from completing her Duke of Edinburgh gold award.
Jodie's family appeared tearful in court as they listened to details of her death.
The defendants, all allegedly involved in drug dealing, deny murder.