Zara Aleena’s killer risks life for brutal sex attack

A sexual predator will later be sentenced for the murder of law graduate Zara Aleena days after her release from prison.

Jordan McSweeney had targeted more than one woman before tackling the 35-year-old as she returned home from an early night out on Sunday June 26.

Last month, McSweeney, 29, from Dagenham, Essex, pleaded guilty to her murder and sexual assault.

He will be sentenced on Wednesday by Judge Cheema-Grubb at the Old Bailey.

Court artist’s sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Jordan McSweeney on the quayside of the Old Bailey, where he pleaded guilty to the murder and sexual assault of Zara Aleena (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Earlier, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow KC said Ms Aleena ‘didn’t stand a chance’ when she was targeted by McSweeney in Cranbrooke Road, Ilford, east London.

Ms. Aleena was dragged down an alley, brutally beaten, stomped and sexually assaulted, then left for dead.

Emergency services were called at 2.44am after she was found with serious head injuries and struggling to breathe.

Ms Aleena was taken to hospital where she died later that morning from multiple injuries.

Officers collected CCTV footage, witness statements, DNA and even a bloody fingerprint left by the assailant at the scene.

Video footage from the area showed McSweeney appearing to take aim at two other women before following Ms Aleena.

After the murder, other CCTVs captured him returning to a caravan on a fairground, where police recovered Ms Aleena’s bloodstained clothes.

After being arrested, McSweeney refused to answer questions during a police interview.

The court heard McSweeney was a prolific offender and was released from prison on license on June 17 – just days before the murder.

He had been incarcerated for criminal damage, racially aggravated harassment and unauthorized possession of a knife while in prison.

In total, he has 28 previous convictions for 69 separate offenses, including burglary, vehicle theft, criminal damage, assault on police officers and assault on members of the public while out on bail.

The Metropolitan Police said the probation service began recall proceedings on June 22 after missing two appointments.

The force said they were notified on June 24 and attended an address linked to McSweeney the next day to arrest him, but he was not there and he was later arrested on June 27.

A spokesperson said: ‘The actions of the officers following McSweeney’s recall to prison were reviewed by officers from the Met’s Professional Standards Branch who found no indication of misconduct.’

Ms Aleena had started working at the Royal Courts of Justice five weeks before her death and was “the happiest she has ever been”, her family said.

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