TRAGIC teenager Jodie Chesney could have been the random victim of a gang’s murderous initiation ceremony, her family fears.
The 17-year-old Explorer Scout, fatally stabbed in the back in an east London park, might have been targeted by a new recruit trying to prove his loyalty.
Jodie was killed by a young man who silently approached with a companion as she and friends listened to music in Harold Hill, Havering, at 9.30pm on Friday.
Her family have branded it ‘a totally random and unprovoked attack’ and her grandmother Debbie Chesney believes the youngster could have been the victim of an initiation dare.
She replied ‘it is a possibility’ when people paying tribute online mentioned the sick rituals, but added: ‘We need to find the culprit to be sure what the reason was. Please, if anyone knows anything about this, tell the police.’
The Rev Alan Moss, 37, of nearby St John’s and St James’s Church, said many young people had been relocated from inner city areas into the borough in an effort to break the cycle of gang violence.
He added: ‘It’s not really solving the problem, it’s just moving it. There were a lot of people who weren’t gang-affiliated who now are.’
Jodie’s dad Peter, 39, yesterday visited Teresa Farenden, 49, who lives opposite the park and rushed to try to save the teenager’s life with CPR after being alerted by her son.
The victim and 18-year-old boyfriend Eddie Coyle, who saw the killing, were ‘absolutely smitten’, the mayor of Havering Dilip Patel said. He knew them both and said they were ‘like lovebirds’.
Det Supt Shabnam Chaudri appealed for witnesses, admitting: ‘We don’t have any idea who killed Jodie at the moment.’
A GoFundMe page to cover funeral costs has raised more than £7,000.