Zara Aleena: Jordan McSweeney pleads guilty to murdering law graduate as she walked home

Zara Aleena: Jordan McSweeney pleads guilty to murdering law graduate as she walked home

A sexual predator has pleaded guilty to murdering law graduate Zara Aleena just days after being released from prison.

Jordan McSweeney appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday where he admitted murdering Ms Aleena in the early hours of 26 June this year.

He also pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Ms Aleena had been walking home after spending the evening with friends when she was targeted by McSweeney.

Prosecutors say McSweeney, 29, dragged the 35-year-old woman into a driveway before kicking and stamping on her.

He sexually assaulted the law graduate and made off with her mobile phone, keys and handbag, the court heard.

Emergency services were called at 2.44am after she was found with severe head injuries, partially naked and struggling to breathe on Cranbrook Road in Ilford, east London.

More on Zara Aleena

Paramedics took the victim to the Royal London Hospital where she later died from her injuries.

The Metropolitan Police described the murder as an “opportunist stranger attack”.

CCTV from the night of the killing showed McSweeney following several women before fixating on Ms Aleena.

He had been released from prison on licence just nine days before the murder after serving time for burglary offences.

McSweeney was arrested by police at his home where they found a bag containing blood-stained clothes.

Ms Aleena was only minutes from home when she was murdered.

The murder led to more calls for end to violence against women and girls

She was an aspiring lawyer and had just started a new job at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Her family described her family as a “carefree spirit, with the most caring heart’ as paid tribute following her death.

“She walked everywhere,” the family said. “She put her party shoes in a bag and donned her trainers.

“Zara believed that a woman should be able to walk home.”

Ms Aleena’s murder led to more calls to end violence against women and girls.

McSweeney will be sentenced at a later date.