PETER CHESNEY’S world fell apart two years ago when his daughter Jodie was murdered in a knife attack in a park.
He feared he would never find happiness again as his relationship with the 17-year-old’s stepmum buckled under the strain of their grief.Tomorrow, on the second anniversary of Jodie’s death, he will learn whether he will become a father to a daughter once againCredit: Olivia West - The Sun
But tomorrow, on the second anniversary of Jodie’s death, he will learn whether he will become a father to a daughter once again.
Peter’s new partner will have a five-month scan and find out the sex of their baby, which he describes as “a gift from Jodie”.
In an exclusive interview, Peter, 40, reveals: “I am so happy that I am going to bring another life into the world. A baby that will be pure and beautiful, just like Jodie was.
“Someone said to me, ‘This is Jodie looking down on us — it’s her saying that she wants us to be happy’.Jodie with dad PeterCredit: PA:Press Association
“She absolutely adored all kids and I’m sure she would have been over the moon to have a little brother or sister. Her face would light up every time she cuddled a baby.
“To find out if I’m having another girl on the anniversary of Jodie’s death is extra poignant. It shows that on even the darkest of days there can be a glimmer of hope.
“One thing is for sure, I have made a vow to be the best dad I can — the father Jodie would have wanted me to be.”
With stabbing deaths hitting a three-year high, former City worker Peter, who quit his job to run a foundation in Girl Scout Jodie’s name, says he will never forgive her killers.
Peter was out celebrating his 39th birthday in central London on March 1, 2019, when he got the call that every parent dreads.Talking of Jodie, Peter said: 'She absolutely adored all kids and I’m sure she would have been over the moon to have a little brother or sister'Credit: PA:Press Association
'THE PAST TWO YEARS HAVE BEEN HELL'
Jodie was listening to music with friends in Amy’s Park, Romford, East London, just after 9pm when two drug dealers leapt from a bush and plunged a knife into her back. She had never met them or ever been involved in gangs.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, then 19, and his runner Aaron Isaacs, then 17, had been out for revenge on rivals and planned to “bang out their ops”. The Old Bailey heard they set on Jodie after confusing her with a rival. Ong-a-Kwie was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years and Isaacs 18 years.
The talented sixth-former, who lived with her dad and stepmum Joanne in Dagenham, East London, was just weeks away from getting a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Poignantly, less than four months earlier, she had met Boris Johnson with the Scouts and posted a snap of herself and her group on the steps of 10 Downing Street.
And after being filmed at a Royal Albert Hall Remembrance event, she wrote: “I’m basically famous now.”Less than four months before her death, Jodie had met Boris Johnson with the Scouts and posted a snap of herself and her group on the steps of 10 Downing StreetCredit: Social Media - Refer to Source
Taking himself back to that terrible day when she died, Peter reveals: “The police told me, ‘Jodie has been attacked and we are coming to get you’. They turned up in a van and said they were taking me to hospital.
“I got into the van with my brother David and then I heard the news of her death over the police radio.
“The words were, ‘Please re-route Mr Chesney home because we’ve lost her’. I collapsed.”
I try to get my tears out of the way in the morning and then I look at photos and videos of Jodie and remember how amazing she was.
Following her death, Peter split from Joanne, who he had been with since Jodie was six and his other daughter Lucy was eight.
Peter adds: “I went through a period where I was drinking and trying to mask my pain, and you can never fully recover from something like this. But whenever I get really low, I remember what a good person Jodie was and that pushes me to try to be my best.”Following her death, Peter split from Joanne, who he had been with since Jodie was six and his other daughter Lucy was eightCredit: PA:Press Association
Peter set up the Jodie Chesney Foundation in 2019. It is dedicated to fighting knife crime and is backed by youth workers, including his brother David, a vicar.
Peter says: “The past two years have been hell. I think about Jodie every day on the way to work when I pass the petrol station where the ambulance carrying her stopped as they tried to save her, which is not easy. I’ve been back to the place where she died a number of times and my emotions are still very raw.
“They have removed the bench on which she was killed and covered the park in her favourite colour, purple, which was really nice.
“At home, I’ve kept the item she loved most, her piano. Jodie liked classical music like Beethoven and Ludovico Einaudi and that is all she would play. It now has photos of her on it, it keeps her memory alive.
“I’ve got an old birthday card from Jodie which has her writing on it. It’s been turned into a keyring for me and I always carry it with me.Peter's world fell apart two years ago when his daughter Jodie was murdered in a knife attack in a parkCredit: Ray Collins - The Sun
“It’s about Jodie and taking her with me and not thinking she’s gone, but thinking she’s still here in my heart and I am going to take her everywhere I go.” Last year Peter started a new job as a delivery driver and began seeing his new girlfriend, who we are not naming as she does not wish to be in the public eye.
Peter says: “Joanne and I are still friends and she is happy we are having a baby. She says she is happy as long as I am happy.”
This week Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a personal letter pledging action to the mother of trainee lawyer Sven Badzak, 22, who was stabbed to death by a knife gang near his North West London home on February 6.
There have been six stabbing deaths in London in the past fortnight alone. When it comes to Jodie’s killers, Peter says: “I rarely think about them now but in terms of forgiveness I don’t think it’s going to happen. They killed my daughter.
“People say she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But she was in the right place, a kids’ park.Residents in Romford march in memory of Jodie and call for more police on the streetsCredit: Jamie Lorriman - The Sun
“Her killers were in the wrong place, not her.”
Peter admits tomorrow, also his birthday, will be a day of strong and mixed emotions.
He says: “We try to celebrate Jodie’s life as much as we can and that’s what we would have been doing on March 1 even if we weren’t going for the scan.
“We’re also unveiling a memorial at her old school that day.
“I try to get my tears out of the way in the morning and then I look at photos and videos of Jodie and remember how amazing she was.
“I know that Jodie would want me to be happy and I am in a much better place now than I was two years ago.
“I am so grateful to have a new baby on the way and a lovely girlfriend but I am not moving on with my life, just moving forward.Peter says 'I try to get my tears out of the way in the morning and then I look at photos and videos of Jodie and remember how amazing she was'Credit: PA:Press Association
“If I have a girl it will be amazing and I’m sure she will remind me of Jodie.
“One thing I’m going to do is make sure I tell this baby all about Jodie.”To donate to the Jodie Chesney Foundation, go to jodiechesneyfoundation.org. Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, left, then 19 was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years and Aaron Isaacs, then 17, to 18 yearsCredit: PA:Press Association
ONE knife crime offence was committed every ten minutes in Britain last year, new statistics reveal.
More than 50,000 blade-related crimes were recorded in England and Wales over 12 months – 137 a day.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics are the highest since records began.
Knife crime is up by 50 per cent in the past decade and rose 25 per cent after the first lockdown ended. Homicides shot up by seven per cent until March 2020, with a total of 695.
In London, murders are at a three-year high. Gangs committed a series of tit-for-tat attacks in February.
The Met Police launched 21 murder probes at the start of the year.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “We are working closely with the police and others to stop this senseless bloodshed.”
Family release heartbreaking video show at Jodie Chesney's funeral
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