How Zara Aleena's killer was recalled to prison after just five days

Free to kill: How Zara Aleena’s killer missed two probation appointments and had been recalled to prison after just five days on the outside… three days before he savagely murdered law graduate as she walked home at night

  • Jordan McSweeney was recalled to prison within a week of being released
  • Met Police went to a property to arrest him on June 25 but couldn’t find him
  • On June 26 he murdered Zara Aleena, before being arrested the next day

Jordan McSweeney murdered Zara Aleena just one day after police had tried to arrest him following his no-show at two probation appointments.

The 29-year-old man will be sentenced this afternoon for brutally killing Ms Aleena on June 26 this year, less than two weeks after he was released from prison.

McSweeney was released from a jail sentence for robbery on June 17, but by June 22 the Probation Service had commenced recall proceedings.

Metropolitan Police said it was informed of proceedings on June 24, the next day officers went to an address linked to McSweeney to arrest him, but they were unable to find him – he was subsequently arrested on June 27.

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

Jordan McSweeney will be sentenced later today for the murder of Zara Aleena, which occurred just the day after Met Police went to arrest him

Zara Aleena (pictured), 35, who had recently started work at the Royal Courts of Justice, died after she was ambushed as she walked home in the early hours of the morning, she was punched in the back of the head, then strangled

In separate incidents, McSweeney had tried to assault a 12-year-old girl; throttled, slapped and pushed an ex-girlfriend down stairs, and punched and hit another former partner.

On two occasions he had threatened to kill prison officers and cut their heads off, the court heard.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said: ‘On the night of 25 June 2022, Jordan McSweeney had left a pub in Illford and had roamed the streets looking for a woman to attack and to sexually assault.

‘He followed a number of different women and, given what happened to Zara, there can be no doubt that they were lucky to have escaped unharmed.

‘Tragically for Zara Aleena, of course, she was not as fortunate.

‘The defendant saw her, decided to follow her, and was determined to assault her. He approached her from behind, grabbed her around the neck and dragged her into a driveway.

‘Despite being only yards from a public street and from onlooking houses, the defendant attacked her with a savagery that is almost impossible to believe.

‘He repeatedly kicked and stamped on her head and body, he tore some of her clothes from her body in order that he could sexually assault her; and then he attacked her again, kicking and stamping on her face and neck, and returning several times to continue the brutal violence.

Undated CCTV image issued by the Metropolitan Police of sexual predator Jordan McSweeney just before he attacked Zara Aleena

After his arrest, McSweeney refused to answer questions but told officers he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 

‘Finally, once satisfied that she would no longer be able to report him for what he had done, he walked away, taking her mobile telephone with him which he threw over a garden wall, thus ensuring that neither she nor anyone else who might find her could use the phone to call for help.

‘He walked back the caravan where he was living and the following morning, having hidden the bloodstained clothes and shoes he had been wearing during the attack, he was seen laughing and joking with his friends; seemingly without any concern for what he had done or for the fate he had forced upon Zara Aleena.’

Mr Glasgow wiped away a tear as he told the court: ‘Zara Aleena did not stand a chance. She had no idea Jordan McSweeney was behind her and, once he had grabbed her, there was nothing she could do.

‘She was dragged into a dark corner of a driveway and, despite fighting back, she was strangled until she was unconscious.

Zara had begun working at the Royal Courts of Justice five weeks before her death and was ‘the happiest she had ever been’, her family said 

‘She was stripped of her leggings and underwear in order that she could be sexually assaulted, she was repeatedly stamped on in order that she could never tell anyone what had been done to her.

‘Her belongings were taken and then thrown away because they were of no use to Jordan McSweeney, and when he was interviewed about what he had done, Jordan McSweeney yawned and said that he was bored.’

Ms Aleena’s keys with two large purple heart keyrings and her underwear were found discarded a few doors down the street, her blue purse was found thrown in a bush and her leggings over a tree branch a little further.

Having arrived home, Ms Aleena’s friend Bhamini Bati called her mobile but she did not pick up. She sent a WhatsApp message at 02:20 which read ‘Y home hun?’ to which there was no reply.

Ms Aleena was taken to hospital at around 4.30am and the cause of death was compression of the neck and blunt force to the head.

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