Devastated family of 17-year-old stabbed in park pay tribute to ‘lovely’ girl

The family of a “beautiful, lovely and quirky” 17-year-old girl who was stabbed to death in an east London park have appealed for witnesses to come forward with information about the attack.

Jodie Chesney was pronounced dead just over an hour after police were called to the park, near St Neot’s Road in Harold Hill, at about 9.25pm on Friday.

In a statement to ITV News on Sunday, her uncle, Dave Chesney, said “we are all devastated”.

He added: “This was a totally random and unprovoked attack on a beautiful, lovely and quirky young girl with her whole life in front of her.”

Mr Chesney said Jodie was the daughter of his youngest brother Pete, adding: “We value your support and prayers at this time especially for our brother Pete, his wife Jo and Jodie’s sister Lucy.

“Also for the friends that were with her at the time.”

Posting on Facebook on Saturday, Jodie’s grandmother Debbie Chesney said too many young people were having their lives “cut short by needless violence”.

She called for anyone with information into the attack on her youngest granddaughter to contact the police.

Ms Chesney added: “This was our youngest granddaughter.

“How have we come to this point where kids can’t have a walk in a park without suffering an unprovoked attack?

“If anyone knows anything about this please contact the police with information.

“We don’t want anyone else to go through what our family is suffering right now.

Harold Hill fatal stabbing
Police officers search near the scene (Victoria Jones/PA)

“This has to stop, there are too many young people having their lives cut short by needless violence.”

No arrests have been made.

In the latest incident, a mother-of-three who tried to help the teenage girl in the park was “shocked by the amount of blood”, her husband said.

Paul Farenden, 54, said his 49-year-old wife Teresa had rushed to the scene near their home to see if she could help after she heard screaming.

Harold Hill fatal stabbing
A police forensic officer at the scene near St Neot’s Road (Victoria Jones/PA)

He added: “My wife asked if everything was alright and one of the boys said ‘no, my girlfriend has been stabbed’.

“She put her in the recovery position and waited for the ambulance to turn up. I think she tried to resuscitate her.

“She thought it was all over then and it would be alright.”

But Mr Farenden said: “She was shocked with the amount of blood there.”

Harold Hill fatal stabbing
People place flowers near the scene (Victoria Jones/PA)

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent John Ross, of the east area command unit, said Jodie’s death was “a tragedy”, adding that police would do “everything possible to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible”.

Neighbours said young people often “hang out” in the park, and if they are too loud they are usually moved on without any trouble.

A small group of people cried and hugged each other after leaving flowers at the cordon with the message: “We love you forever in our hearts.”

Another message attached to a floral tribute said: “You are so strong. We will always remember you.”

The park, which has a playground at its centre and is known locally as Amy’s Park, has been cordoned off with police tape and is being guarded by officers for the forensic investigation.

Harold Hill fatal stabbing
Councillors Paul McGeary and Tele Lawal (Helen William/PA)

Councillor Paul McGeary, who represents the Gooshays ward where the incident occurred, arrived with fellow councillor Tele Lawal to lay flowers at the scene.

Mr McGeary spoke of his “shock and horror” that the killing had happened in the semi-rural outer London borough.

He said: “This is not something that happens here and I am just completely surprised.”

Ms Lawal said the park, which she herself used to play in, was “not an area where you will frequently see violence like this”.

The 22-year-old added: “It is going to shock our community but it just shows the strain that is happening with young people, with our police and the resources we need in our community to tackle violence like this.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 020 8345 3775, tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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