Jordan McSweeney hearing: Zara Aleena stamped on and left for dead in Ilford stranger attack, court told

Jordan McSweeney, 29, is accused of murdering the 35-year-old as she walked home in Ilford, Redbridge, in early hours of June 26.

Aspiring lawyer Zara Aleena was stamped on before being left bleeding and struggling to breathe with serious head injuries following a stranger attack, the Old Bailey heard today.

Her partially clothed body was found in the early hours last Sunday following the brutal assault.

CCTV shows her being pulled into a driveway and stamped on, the court was told.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, is accused of murdering the 35-year-old as she walked home in Ilford, Redbridge, in early hours of June 26.

Zara Aleena, 35, who was beaten to death in Cranbrook Road, Ilford. Credit: Met Police

Paramedics rushed to save her, but she died of head injuries in hospital shortly after being attacked in Cranbrook Road.

McSweeney, from Dagenham, is also accused of trying to rape her and robbing her mobile phone, keys and handbag.

Appearing at the Old Bailey for the first time today via video link from HMP Thameside wearing a green jumper, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth during the hearing which lasted around 20 minutes.

He did not enter any plea.

Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant has been charged in connection with the death of Zara Aleena which took place in the early hours of Sunday 26 June.

“Emergency services were called after her body was discovered on a driveway on Cranbrook Road.

“She was bleeding, struggling to breathe, had sustained serious head injuries and was partially naked.

“Paramedics attended and tried to give her life-saving first aid but her injuries were so severe they could not save her.”

Cranbrook Road, Ilford, where Zara Aleena was attacked and killed by a stranger.

The court was told Ms Aleena had been dragged onto a driveway and repeatedly stamped on before she died.

Describing the CCTV, Mr Glasgow said: “A man can be seen to set about her, drag her to the driveway in Cranbrook Road, forcing her to the ground and can then be seen stamping repeatedly on her body.”

McSweeney was refused bail and Recorder of London Mark Lucraft QC remanded him into custody.

His lawyer Rhiannon Cole made few representations to the hearing and did not make any bail application.

The judge did not address McSweeney at any point.

He will next appear at the same court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on September 30.

A trial is expected early next year but was not fixed.

On Wednesday, Ms Aleena’s family said she believed every woman should be able to walk home at night in a powerful tribute to her.

In a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, they said: “She was our love in human form. She was fierce: she didn’t just survive, she thrived.

“She walked everywhere. She put her party shoes in a bag and donned her trainers. She walked. Zara believed that a woman should be able to walk home.”