Zara Aleena: Man in court accused of murdering 35-year-old

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Zara AleenaImage source, Metropolitan Police
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Zara Aleena had hoped to become a solicitor

A man accused of murdering a woman in a street attack in east London has appeared at the Old Bailey.

Zara Aleena, 35, was walking in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, 10 minutes from her home, when she was attacked in the early hours of Sunday.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, from Church Elm Lane, Dagenham, east London, did not enter a plea to the charge of murder.

He is also charged with attempted penetration without consent and robbery.

Mr McSweeney, who appeared via video link from HMP Thameside wearing a green jumper, is set to appear again at the Old Bailey on 30 September.

'She thrived'

Ms Aleena had hoped to practise as a solicitor and had completed her Legal Practice Course. She had recently begun working at the Royal Courts of Justice, to complete her two-year work placement in order to become a fully qualified solicitor, her family said.

In a statement, they described her as "fierce: she didn't just survive, she thrived".

Image source, Sherit Nair
Image caption,
Post-mortem tests revealed Ms Aleena had "multiple serious injuries"

"Zara was happy and at a point in her life that she had worked hard for," they said.

"She was a joy to all of us, her sparkling eyes and the curly, jet-black hair. Her glorious laughter and her sweet, smiling voice. Her tiny frame embodied a passionate spirit and indomitable energy."

A post-mortem examination revealed she had "multiple serious injuries".

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