Zara Aleena’s alleged killer charged with murder, attempted rape and robbery

29-year-old Jordan McSweeney wore a grey tracksuit when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court, he stood only to confirm his name, date of birth and address in Dagenham.

No plea was indicated.

McSweeney has been charged with murdering Zara Aleena, an aspiring lawyer who was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning after walking home from seeing friends.

She was only 10 minutes away from her home in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, when she was attacked.

McSweeney has also been charged with attempted rape, and robbery – the court heard that her keys, handbag and wallet were stolen.

He has been remanded in custody and will next appear at the Old Bailey on Friday for a bail hearing.

Paramedics were called at about 02:45 on Sunday after Ms Aleena was found by members of the public.

Police say Ms Aleena suffered severe head injuries and no weapons are thought to have been used.

She was taken to hospital where she died later that morning.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had “multiple serious injuries” and no weapons are thought to have been used.

Friends of Ms Aleena at Thames Magistrates’ Court gave emotional tributes.

One said she was the “kindest soul” and said she always messaged after walking home late.

They became worried when they hadn’t heard back from her.

In the wake of her death, her family issued a moving statement in which they also expressed sympathy for other bereaved families who have lost loved ones to violence.