Zara’s murder accused in court

A Kent man accused of the murder of a trainee lawyer as she walked home will enter a plea in September.

Zara Aleena, 35, was attacked in Ilford, east London, as she walked home at the weekend. She suffered serious head injuries and later died in hospital.

Zara Aleena was attacked on her way home from a night out

Jordan McSweeney, 29, formerly of Rochester, appeared at the Old Bailey this morning charged with her murder.

McSweeney, of Dagenham, east London, is also accused of trying to rape Ms Aleena as well as robbing her of her mobile phone, keys and handbag.

He appeared via video link from HMP Thameside wearing a green jumper.

He was seen covering his face with his hands ahead of the hearing before sitting back in his chair.

During the hearing he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

He will next appear at the Old Bailey on September 30 for a plea hearing.

McSweeney was remanded in custody and a plea hearing was scheduled for September.

Ms Aleena’s family paid tribute to her saying she was “radiating and blossoming” and “ready to make a family of her own”.

They added: “These last few days have been shocking and unimaginable.

“Sadly, Zara is not the only one who has had her life taken at the hands of a stranger.

“We all know women should be safe on our streets. She was in the heart of her community, ten minutes from home.”

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates’ courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

Her family also said that Ms Aleena was on a two-year work placement with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Kent Medway Ed McConnell


popular today