Jodie Chesney murder trial: Dagenham teen’s cousin recognised accused as long-time drug dealer
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 September 2019
A cousin of Girl Scout Jodie Chesney has told jurors he was shocked when he recognised one of her alleged killers, telling jurors: “I never thought he would do something like that.”
Liam Chesney, 21, used to regularly buy cannabis from Manuel Petrovic to ease a medical condition, the Old Bailey was told.
When he found out Petrovic, who he knew as Manny, was linked to the death of Jodie, he thought it was "out of character", jurors heard.
Jodie was stabbed to death in a park in Harold Hill, east London, while chilling out with friends on the evening of March 1.
Jurors have heard her death was thought to be linked to a drug dispute but she was unlikely to have been the intended target.
Giving evidence, Mr Chesney said he had known Petrovic for about six years and met him a couple of times to get cannabis.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: "You have a medical condition and you find cannabis helps you relax."
The witness agreed, saying he had last bought cannabis from Petrovic last October in Romford.
On the evening of March 1, he had tried unsuccessfully to get hold of him to buy cannabis, the court heard.
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He said: "I tried contacting him that night. I was in the club, tried to get some weed but he did not answer his phone.
"I contacted about four different numbers. I did not get any that night. I contacted loads of people."
The court heard Mr Chesney would also get text messages advertising drugs from a phone number linked to another defendant, Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, known as Spencer.
The witness told jurors he had never come across the name Spencer before.
In the wake of Jodie's death, Mr Chesney saw a photograph of Petrovic on Facebook, identifying him as a suspect in his cousin's death.
He told police at the time he "could not believe it" and was "completely shocked".
Sarah Forshaw QC, for Petrovic, asked: "I think before October last year you were a regular customer of Manny's, at least once a week?
"And you would meet up with Manny regularly over a number of years. You got to know Manny quite well. He never gave you any trouble."
Mr Chesney agreed he was always polite and humble.
He told jurors: "It's completely out of character. I never thought he would do something like this."
Alleged drug dealers Manuel Petrovic, 20, of Highfield Road, Collier Row, Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, of Hillfoot Road, Collier Row, and two youths, aged 16 and 17, from Barking and Romford - who cannot be named because of their ages - deny murder.