Zara Aleena killing: Jordan McSweeney charged with murder of 35-year-old woman in Ilford, east London

·3-min read

A man has been charged with the murder of Zara Aleena in Ilford , east London as her family release a tribute saying she was a "joy to all".

Ms Aleena, 35, was found with "serious head injuries" in Cranbrook Road at around 2.45am on Sunday, and died later that morning in hospital.

No weapons are thought to have been used.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, has also been charged with attempted rape and robbery, Metropolitan Police said.

He has been remanded in custody after appearing at Thames Magistrates' Court.

In a statement released via the Met Police, Ms Aleena's family said she was "pure of heart" with "sparkling eyes" and "glorious laughter".

It reads: "Zara, 35, a beloved human, child, niece, cousin, granddaughter, friend to all, she was a joy to all of us.

"She was a carer for her mother, and her grandmother. Caring for others came so naturally to her.

"Zara was friendly, she was everybody's friend. She was everybody's daughter, everybody's niece, everybody's sister, everybody's cousin. She was pure of heart."

The statement said Ms Aleena had wanted to be a lawyer since the age of five, and described her as "a carefree spirit, with the most caring heart".

"Zara was happy and at a point in her life when her joy was radiating and blossoming," her family said.

They describe how she was the "rock" of their family and was ready to start a family of her own.

It ends by saying: "Our loss is irreparable and the void feels insurmountable but the warmth and kindness that our community has shown is testament to the power of Zara's spirit. Her life has been stolen from us. She has been stolen from us all."

The family said Ms Aleena had been on a two-year placement with the Crown Prosecution Service to become a solicitor.

The University of Westminster said Ms Aleena was a law graduate who last year gained a postgraduate diploma in legal practice.

A spokeswoman said: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news that our former law school student and graduate Zara Aleena has lost her life in such a tragic way. Our thoughts are with Zara's family and loved ones at this dreadful time."

A vigil on Cranbrook Road is planned for Saturday 2nd July at 2.17pm. Attendees have been asked to wear white and to keep the mood "silent and sombre".

Ms Aleena's family said: "We want to bring her back where she belonged safely."

On Tuesday, Ms Aleena's best friend Lisa Hodgson said she was shocked and angry at her death and revealed the last messages she had received from her.

Ms Hodgson had sent her a screenshot of a sunset to which Ms Aleena replied "beautiful", adding: "Miss your beautiful face this weekend xx can't wait to see you next weekend xxx."

Ms Hodgson spoke to Sky News at the court on Wednesday, where she discussed why her friend had chosen to train as a lawyer.

"She wanted to help people. She had a kind heart, a pure heart."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting