Jodie Chesney’s step-mother has said she hopes the teenager’s legacy will “influence kids to be better people” and not just focus on her tragic murder four years on. 

Jodie, who was 17 at the time, was killed in an unprovoked attack in Amy’s Park, St Neot’s Road, Harold Hill, on March 1, 2019. 

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, from Collier Row, and Aaron Isaacs, from Barking, were found guilty of her murder

From Dagenham, Jodie was studying her A-levels at Havering Sixth Form College at the time. Her death sent ripples through the community, with Havering turning purple as people paid tribute to Jodie with her favourite colour. 

Her father, Peter Chesney, previously described her to this paper as “a beautiful, well-liked, fun young woman who judged no-one and loved everyone. As a little girl she was very shy, but her confidence grew from strength to strength as she got older.” 

Four years on, her step-mother, Joanne Chesney, said it is still hard to put what happened into words. 

“Basically, after it happened, I started my life from scratch. So, it’s getting on with things really,” she said. 

Since Jodie’s death, there have been a range of projects which have been established in her memory. These include the Jodie Chesney Foundation, run by her father, and the ForJodieProject, set up to equip people with emergency aid training. 

Romford Recorder: Jodie was studying at Havering Sixth Form College, and enjoyed a host of extracurricular activities including playing the pianoJodie was studying at Havering Sixth Form College, and enjoyed a host of extracurricular activities including playing the piano (Image: Met Police)

Commenting on the state of knife crime, Joanne said rather than being curbed, she believes “it seems to have gotten worse”. 

The Recorder reported last November how Havering had the fastest-growing knife crime problem in east London over the previous 12 months

Now living outside the capital, Joanne believes the issue cannot be explained as a London-centric problem. 

“Everywhere you go you hear about knife crime,” she said. 

To get the latest news and features direct to your inbox, sign up for our Romford Recorder newsletter here.

“Kids just don’t seem to care anymore.” 

Joanne added that she hopes Jodie is remembered beyond the manner in which she died, and that the memory of her character and personality will “influence kids to be better people, rather than just based on what happened”. 

“It’s just letting people remember her," she said. "Me personally, I’d like people to remember her for her rather than what happened. Just recognising how much of a good person she was.”