Jodie Chesney murder trial: Accused insists he is not 'throwing fellow drug dealer under the bus' in attempt to walk free
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 15 October 2019
One of Dagenham Girl Scout Jodie Chesney's alleged killers has been accused of throwing his business partner "under the bus" over the incident that saw the teenager fatally stabbed in a Harold Hill park.
Drug dealer Manuel Petrovic, 20, drove Svenson Ong-a-Kwie and two youths to the park where Jodie was fatally stabbed on the evening of March 1, jurors heard.
It is alleged the 17-year-old was mistakenly targeted in Amy's Park over a drug dispute.
Cross-examining Mr Petrovic, Mr Ong-a-Kwie's lawyer accused him of distancing himself from his co-accused.
Charles Sherrard QC said: "What I suggest is that you have, from the minute you were arrested, decided your best tactic is to present yourself as a particular type of person - somebody who is too nice, the older brother type, and wherever possible distanced yourself from Svenson."
Mr Petrovic replied: "That's not correct."
Mr Sherrard continued: "And in distancing yourself, you have chosen to rewrite the truth and metaphorically thrown him under the bus."
The defendant repeated: "That's not correct."
The barrister asserted that it was Mr Petrovic that Mr Ong-a-Kwie turned to when he needed a lift to Harold Hill on the night of March 1.
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He turned to him again when he needed fresh clothes and trusted him with a "drug line", it was claimed.
But Mr Petrovic told jurors: "It was more business associates than friends, but I would not not class him as a friend."
Asked why he picked up Mr Ong-a-Kwie on March 1, leaving customers waiting, he said: "It's not out of the blue, he would help me out on occasions so I would try to help him out too."
The jury had previously heard that Mr Petrovic started smoking cannabis at around the age of 13 and by the time he was 15, he was expelled from the Royal Liberty School in Upper Brentwood Road, Romford.
For a while Mr Petrovic had a part time job in landscape gardening.
After he found himself in debt to a dealer, Mr Petrovic began dealing drugs.
He told the court that he knew a 16-year-old co-defendant for six years and that he was "like a little brother" to him.
Mr Petrovic, Mr Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and two youths aged 16 and 17 from east London - who cannot be named for legal reasons - deny murder.
The Old Bailey trial continues.