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Vicar speaks of 'journey of forgiveness' following murder of niece

In a statement submitted to the sentencing hearing of her killers, Dave Chesney said conducting her funeral was the hardest thing he had ever done.

He also spoke of his struggle watching the defendants' conduct in court.

"It had been weeks of denial and blame all for the intention of self preservation," he said. "We are a broken family still coming to terms with the loss of a beautiful soul."

Earlier this month, a jury found Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and a 17-year-old boy guilty of murder after less than six hours of deliberations.

Ong-a-Kwie has been given a life sentence with a minimum term of 26 years while the other boy was jailed for at least 18 years.

Chesney was killed on the evening of 1st March in what was described as a case of mistaken identity.

During sentencing, the court heard how one of Jodie's killers, Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, had convictions for possessing and supplying drugs.

He admitted being in breach of a six-week suspended sentence for handling stolen jewellery dating back to October last year.

The 17-year-old defendant had previous convictions for possessing a screwdriver, actual bodily harm, possession of cannabis as well as aggravated vehicle taking.

Jodie's father Peter Chesney told how he had just got a job in the City as a salesman when his life was "destroyed".

From being ready to "take on the world" with a promising career, he was instead sitting in a cabin in his garden, writing a victim impact statement.

Mr Chesney said: "I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know. I have no idea how I'm going to continue my life or come to terms with the loss.

"I have a fantastic daughter Lucy and we are leaning on each other throughout this tragedy."

(additional reporting by Press Association)

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