The drug dealers who stabbed Jodie Chesney to death in a ‘pathetic’ turf war have been jailed for life and ordered to serve a combined sentence of at least 44 years.
Jodie, 17, was listening to music with friends in a park in east London when she was knifed in the back amid a tit-for-tat battle between rival gangs.
Dealer Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, who delivered the fatal blow, was today jailed for life at the Old Bailey and ordered to serve at least 26 years behind bars.
His 17-year-old ‘enthusiastic supporter’ and ‘runner’, who can be named for the first time today as Aaron Isaacs, was handed an 18-year minimum prison term.
Footage of Ong-a-Kwie crashing through the roof of a conservatory while trying to flee police, then saying: ‘I didn’t kill no one’ as he is handcuffed was released by detectives today.
Girl scout Jodie Chesney, who was murdered in an east London park in March this year. Her two killers were found guilty of murder today
Killers Svenson Ong-a-Kwie (left) and Aaron Isaacs (right), who was named for the first time today, have been jailed for life for murder
Ong-a-Kwie (left, on his arrest) crashed through the roof of a conservatory as he fled police. Right: Aaron Isaacs (right) being handcuffed
Police have released images of knives found on the pair as they were jailed for life today
Ahead of the sentencing, an emotional statement from Jodie’s sister, Lucy Chesney, 20, was read to court.
She said: ‘Jodie was not only my sister she was my best friend. Losing her is like losing half of myself.
‘We went through everything together and she was always there for me and always putting everyone before herself. She gave me a type of love I will never feel again.’
Jodie’s sister added: ‘Jodie will be greatly missed and the people who caused such tragedy to a whole family should hang their head in shame. You have ripped away a bright future that was destined to make a change to many lives.’
Jodie’s father Peter Chesney told how he had just got a job in the City as a salesman when his life was ‘destroyed’.
From being ready to ‘take on the world’ with a promising career, he was instead sitting in a cabin in his garden, writing a victim impact statement.
Mr Chesney said: ‘I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know. I have no idea how I’m going to continue my life or come to terms with the loss.
‘I have a fantastic daughter Lucy and we are leaning on each other throughout this tragedy.’
Jodie’s murder – a suspected case of mistaken identity – shocked the nation and led to renewed calls to tackle Britain’s knife crime epidemic.
A court sketch shows Isaacs (left) and Ong-a-Kwie (right) being sentenced today
Isaacs (left) and Ong-A-Kwie (right) were drug dealers who spent their days rushing around east London selling cannabis and pills
Knifeman Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, had wanted to ‘bang out’ a rival in revenge for stabbing him weeks earlier.
But in the gloom of the park in Harold Hill, east London, he lunged at Jodie and the blade went ‘almost right through her’.
Ong-a-Kwie and Isaacs were unanimously found guilty of murder.
The killers were drug dealers, specialising in cannabis and cocaine, who sent hundreds of text messages advertising their wares every day.
Prosecutors said it was a case of mistaken identity and Jodie was a victim of the ‘casual violence’ all too regularly meted out by the young thugs who populate London’s cocaine gangs.
Judge Wendy Joseph QC said today: ‘Jodie was a bright, warm and loving girl who could have given so much to so many, and who should have led a happy and fulfilled life.
‘All that was taken away by an act of callous, casual and utterly irresponsible violence.
‘Those present at the scene will live with the horror for a very, very long time. The whole community has been shocked to its core, and the ramifications have been widespread.’
Jodie Chesney’s sister Lucy (pictured, centre, outside court) has given an emotional statement to court ahead of the girl scout’s killers sentencing today
Jodie with her big sister Lucy in earlier life. The family have given heartbreaking statements to court today
Members of Jodie Chesney’s family arrive at the Old Bailey ahead of her killers’ sentencing
The judge said the stabbing had come about amid an escalating ‘tit-for-tat vendetta’ between rival drug dealers.
The Judge agreed to lift reporting restrictions on Isaacs’ identity in the exceptional circumstances of the case.
Jodie’s boyfriend Eddie Coyle has been left with PTSD after witnessing the fatal attack
Explaining her reasons, she said: ‘What is important is that a blameless girl is dead at the hands of those engaged in and those that associate with drug dealing on the streets.
‘This death has brought great unease in the community. Those suffering, which spreads much further than Jodie’s friends and family, need and have a right to know and understand how this has come about.’
Today, Jodie’s boyfriend, who witnessed the attack, said he had suffered with PTSD ever since.
Eddie Coyle, 18, said in a statement: ‘My PTSD gives me increased anxiety, panic attacks and flashbacks to what happened on that night. They can be triggered at any time.
‘I don’t go out at all very much anymore, I used to go out all the time, but the only place I go now is to the house of one of my friends. If I’m walking alone in the street and someone is behind me it puts me on edge.
He said of Jodie: ‘She always made fun of me and she had a bright future ahead of her. She was full of energy and was always out doing something.’
Jodie met Mr Coyle in December 2018 and had been going out together for three months when she was killed.
They had gone to the park to listen to smoke cannabis and listen to the rock music the loved with half a dozen friends.
Jodie’s family told the judge of their devastation at the killing and the impact on their lives
Jodie, pictured with her dog and before her school prom in photos released by her family
Ong-a-Kwie and the Isaacs blamed each other for striking the fatal blow. But prosecutors proved the older dealer was planning to stab a rival after being knifed in the leg two months earlier.
The killers fled the scene in a Vauxhall Corsa driven by Manuel Petrovic, 20, on March 1 this year. Petrovic and a 16-year-old passenger, who also cannot be named, were cleared of murder and manslaughter.
A breakthrough in the investigation came when Croatian-born Petrovic was covertly recorded talking to a visitor while on remand at HMP Belmarsh in south-east London on August 3.
Using London slang, he revealed how the planned revenge attack had gone horribly wrong.
‘You know what actually happened?’ Petrovic asked his visitor. ‘They went to bang out [take out] on their ops [rivals] and banged out the wrong people.’
Asked how he knew, Petrovic said: ‘It was to do with Svenson’s op [rival] – they cheffed [stabbed] him up … a couple of months before.
‘Someone gave him [Ong-a-Kwie] the drop [tip-off]. He … thought it was them because they chill in the area. That’s why she got it from behind.’
Ong-a-Kwie also confessed to a friend that he had ‘done something really bad’ but refused to go into detail when asked about motive.
Police at the park where Jodie was suddenly knifed by the drug dealer as she chatted to friends