Zara Aleena killer Jordan McSweeney jailed for 38 years over brutal murder of law graduate

The man convicted of the “brutal sexually motivated murder” of law graduate Zara Aleena after breaching his licence conditions for a previous offence has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, pleaded guilty last month to the murder and sexual assault of Aleena in Ilford, east London, in the early hours of 26 June this year as she was walking home.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 38 years by Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

She said: “The sentence for the brutal sexually motivated murder of Zara Aleena is imprisonment for life. The defendant will serve 38 years as the minimum term. The defendant is a pugnacious and deeply violent man with a propensity to violence.”

McSweeney refused to appear for the hearing or sentencing, a decision that the judge said showed he had “no spine whatsoever”.

George Carter-Stephenson KC, defending, told the court McSweeney knew CCTV footage would be played at the sentencing hearing and that he did not want to “relive” the incident.

After sentencing Aleena’s aunt, Farah Naz, said: “There are questions to be answered, there are lessons to be learned, and changes to be made.”

Aleena, 35, who worked as a court official, was followed, grabbed from behind, pulled from the street and dragged on to a driveway before McSweeney kicked and stamped on her.

Cheema-Grubb said: “It’s clear that he was wholly aware of what he was doing. After satisfying his lust, he proceeded to destroy the woman he had just degraded. With sickening deliberation he stamped on her.”

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