Zara Aleena: Man appears in court charged with murder, attempted rape and robbery of 35-year-old in Ilford

·2 min read
Zara Aleena: Man appears in court charged with murder, attempted rape and robbery of 35-year-old in Ilford

A man has appeared in court charged with murdering aspiring lawyer Zara Aleena, attempting to rape her and robbing her of her mobile phone, keys and handbag as she walked home after a night out with friends.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, from Dagenham, east London, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on July 1.

An investigation was launched after police were called at 2.44am on Sunday after Ms Aleena was found suffering injuries in Cranbrook Road, Ilford.

The 35-year-old was taken to hospital where she died later that morning.

McSweeney wore a grey tracksuit to the short five-minute hearing, in which no plea was indicated to the charges.

He was denied bail and remanded in custody.

Some of Ms Aleena's family and friends were present in court.

In a tribute released on Wednesday, her family described Ms Aleena as “a beloved human, child, niece, cousin, granddaughter, friend to all, she was a joy to all of us.

“She was a carer for her mother, and her grandmother. Caring for others came so naturally to her. Zara was friendly, she was everybody’s friend. She was everybody’s daughter, everybody’s niece, everybody’s sister, everybody’s cousin. She was pure of heart,” they added.

Flowers and candles were left on Cranbrook Road on Tuesday with friends and family writing messages.

“I love you to the moon and back,” one said. Another tribute said: “Best friend I could ever have asked for .. xxxx

“I am going to miss everything about you, your smile, the way you bite your bottom lip when you were thinking, our nights out… eating burgers on a step, laughing about anything and everything.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms Aleena studied law at the University of Westminster and had been working at the Royal Courts of Justice as an administrative officer since May.

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