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Boyfriend tells court how Jodie Chesney collapsed in his arms after stabbing

UK News | Published:

Jodie Chesney was stabbed in the back on March 1, the Old Bailey heard.

Jodie Chesney

The boyfriend of Girl Scout Jodie Chesney has given an emotional account of how she collapsed in his arms after being fatally stabbed.

Eddie Coyle, 18, and Jodie, 17, had been with a group of their friends smoking and listening to music on a bench in Amy’s Park, Harold Hill, east London, when two figures came out of the darkness on the night of March 1.

The popular A-level student began to faint after she was stabbed in the back by one of the youths, jurors have been told.

Mr Coyle caught her and gently laid her on the ground as he called for help, the Old Bailey has heard.

Eddie Coyle
Eddie Coyle said he and Jodie had been going out for about three months (Yui Mok/PA)

Jodie was pronounced dead before she arrived at hospital, despite the efforts of medics.

Manuel Petrovic, 20, Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and two youths aged 16 and 17 are jointly accused of her murder.

The prosecution allege all played a part in the killing, but 6ft 2in tall Ong-a-Kwie matched eyewitness descriptions of the stabber.

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The court heard how Jodie and Mr Coyle were both studying A-levels at Havering Sixth Form College.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mr Coyle said they had been going out for three months.

On March 1, Mr Coyle said he met Jodie at college and they made a plan to go to Amy’s Park with a group of friends.

They were caught on CCTV walking along St Neot’s Road towards the park at about 6.50pm.

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Mr Coyle told jurors: “We were about to sit down, chill out, listen to music, have a couple of fags, about usual for us – drinking alcohol and smoking some weed.

“We had a joint between the group of us. We did have more on us but we did not get to smoke it.”

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC asked if he had been affected by the cannabis.

The witness said: “Not really, we had only just started smoking it.

“I was standing in front of Jodie, who had her back to the side entrance sitting in the table.”

Describing the attack, he said: “I saw them – two men – walk towards us from the entrance.

“They got close to the gate. One or both of them started running.

“One of them hopped the fence towards us, the other went through the gate.”

He said one of the men was tall and skinny, the other shorter and stockier.

The teenager went on: “They came towards us and then the taller one came right up behind Jodie.

Jodie Chesney
Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death (Family handout/PA)

“The taller one swung his arm out and then stabbed Jodie in the back.

“I thought he was going to punch her at first.

“She was in shock at first. She did not know what had happened.

“She started screaming continuously, very loud, about two minutes straight.

“After she stopped screaming she began to faint. At this time she was falling off the bench.

“The guys ran off. I did not really see – I was trying to catch Jodie at the time.

“I managed to catch her, put her on the floor.

“She was wearing a thick jacket so we did not know how bad the wound was at first, but there was a lot of blood.”

Mr Coyle said he called out for help and two women came and asked what had happened.

He said: “I said ‘she’s been stabbed’. They said ‘really’, then gave as much help as they could.”

Mr Coyle told jurors that neither of the attackers said anything, and he only saw something “small and dark” in the hand of one of them.

Mr Aylett asked: “What sort of person was Jodie?”

Mr Coyle replied: “A great person, very funny, silly, sensible sometimes.”

The prosecutor asked: “You had been going out with her for three months or so, can you think of any reason why anybody would want to hurt her?”

The witness said: “No. No reason.”

He told jurors Jodie had been “laughing one second” before she was attacked.

Cross-examining, Sarah Forshaw QC, for Petrovic, asked if the group were expecting another delivery of cannabis, after one of them had got some earlier.

Mr Coyle said they were not.

Mr Coyle told jurors he thought the attackers were probably the same two men he had seen in the park earlier that evening, individuals, the court has heard, that have never been identified.

Charles Sherrard QC , for Ong-a-Kwie, also known as Spencer, questioned the witness about what he knew of the arrangements his friend Bryce Henderson had made to buy cannabis on March 1.

Mr Coyle said he was aware of the plan to buy from “Spence” did not get far and Mr Henderson had turned to another supplier called Jade instead.

One of Jodie’s closest friends shook in the witness box as she described the killing.

As the 17-year-old girl began her evidence, Judge Wendy Joseph QC moved to reassure her, saying: “I can see you are shaking. I don’t want you to be worried or frightened or upset.”

The witness said she was sitting next to Jodie and heard the attackers walking across the grass when a song they were playing stopped.

Speaking behind a screen, she said: “I did not think much of it at the time.

“I looked around and saw a guy with a black puffer jacket and fur trimmed hood.

“They opened up the gate and I heard this slashing noise. I just thought they were taking our bags.

“When it happened, Jodie started to breathe really heavily. That’s when she started to scream.

“Bryce said ‘has she been stabbed?’. That’s when everyone else stood up and looked, sort of thing, to see what was happening.

“She fell unconscious a few seconds later.”

She added: “When I heard the noise I looked around and I saw them run.”

Another friend, Bryce Henderson, 18, from Romford, told jurors he had bought cannabis from “Spencer” in Harold Hill two or three times, although he could not say what he looked like.

He described receiving a text message from Spencer, via his friend Kane Compton, 18, advertising “Pineapple Express” the day before the killing.

Mr Henderson explained that it referred to a strain of strong cannabis and was also the title of a film.

He said: “We wanted to try it because we watched the movie a couple of weeks before and wanted to know if it was any good.”

Mr Compton gave him £20 for 2g of the cannabis and Mr Henderson said he planned to buy another 2g for himself.

When Spencer failed to pick up two calls, Mr Henderson said he got cannabis delivered to Amy’s Park from another dealer called Jade.

The witness told jurors he and his friends smoked about three joints but remained “fully aware of our surroundings”.

He said Jodie was stabbed in a “split second” as he saw two men in hoodies.

Mr Henderson said: “I saw a quick movement. I think it was one of the hoodies and then I saw Jodie. She looked shocked and Ed had turned and he shouted, ‘she’s been stabbed’.”

Earlier, Mr Aylett told jurors: “The prosecution allege that whichever of the defendants it was who stabbed Jodie Chesney in the back to a depth of up to 18cm, he must have done so intending to kill, even if Jodie had not been the original target.

“As for the others, it would suffice for each of them to have been a party to a plan intentionally to cause at least really serious harm.”

The defendants, from east London, deny the charge against them.

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