Zara Aleena’s killer faces life in prison for a brutal sexually motivated attack

A sexual predator will later be convicted of killing law graduate Zara Aleena days after she was released from prison.

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

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

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

Court artist sketch of Elizabeth Cook of Jordan McSweeney in the dock at 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 pulled into a driveway, brutally kicked, trampled and sexually assaulted, then left for dead.

911 was called at 2.44am after she was found with severe head injuries and difficulty breathing.

Ms. Aleena was taken to the hospital where she died later that morning of multiple wounds.

Police officers collected CCTV footage, witness statements, DNA and even a bloody footprint left by the attacker at the scene.

Video footage from the area showed McSweeney appeared to target two other women before following Ms. Aleena.

After the murder, other CCTV cameras caught him walking back to a trailer at a fair, where police recovered Ms. Aleena’s blood-stained clothes.

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

The court was told McSweeney was a prolific criminal and had been released from prison on furlough on June 17, just days before the murder.

He had been in jail for criminally damaging, racially motivated aggravated harassment and unauthorized possession of a knife in prison.

In all, he has 28 prior convictions for 69 separate felonies including burglary, theft of a vehicle, felony damage, assaulting police officers and assaulting members of the public while on bail.

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

The force said it was notified on June 24 and attended an address linked to McSweeney the next day to arrest him, but he was not present, and was subsequently arrested on June 27.

A spokesman said: “The officers’ actions following McSweeney’s recall to prison were reviewed by officers from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards who found there was no indication of misconduct.”

Ms Aleena had started work 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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