Zara Aleena: Best friend says ‘beautiful’ 35-year-old was walking home when killed in Ilford stranger attack

Zara Aleena’s best friend of 17 years, Lisa, said: “When will our streets be safe? Something needs to be done! Now you rest in peace beautiful angel.”

The best friend of a woman who was beaten to death by a stranger in Ilford has said her “beautiful” pal was killed while walking home.

Zara Aleena, 35, was walking along Cranbrook Road towards Gants Hill Tube station at around 2.44am on Sunday when she was attacked.

Police believe the person who assaulted her was not known to her and did not use a weapon.

Zara was found by paramedics with serious head injuries, and despite being rushed to hospital died later that morning.

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

The Times reported that she was a newly-trained lawyer - who lived in Redbridge - who had recently started working at the Royal Courts of Justice.

In a Facebook tribute her best friend Lisa revealed she was due to meet Zara this weekend, but had to cancel and was now devastated.

She wrote: “I am completely broken.

“My best friend (for the past 17 years) Zara Aleena was murdered last night by a complete stranger.

“I am shocked, I am angry, I feel sick to my stomach.

“We spent most weekends together.

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

“We were meant to be together this weekend but I had to cancel and arranged to meet next weekend.

“I wish I had met her this weekend. I will never see her again.

“I will never hear her voice again. We always spoke everyday. I will never get over this ever.”

Lisa, also 35, said she wanted to look Zara’s killer in the eye and “ask why?”

“When will our streets be safe?” she said.

“ Something needs to be done. Something must be done.

“Now you rest in peace beautiful angel.”

Zara Aleena with her best friend Lisa. Credit: Facebook

Ch Supt Stuart Bell, the senior officer responsible for policing in the East Area BCU which includes Ilford, said that tackling violence against women and girls was “an absolute priority” for the Met.

“Our priorities are to ensure the safety of the local community and to engage locally with residents and people affected,” he said.

“We will be working closely with partners and locally elected representatives to do all we can to make people in this area feel safe and tackle offenders who harm people and cause alarm in our community.

“We know people are concerned and we are determined to make our public spaces safer in this area.

“My genuine thanks go to everyone in the community for their patience and resilience. Our neighbourhood officers will be making themselves available over the coming days to speak to the community and people affected locally.

“Every resource is being dedicated to locating whoever is responsible and with every hour, the investigation is gathering pace.

“Tackling violence against women and girls is an absolute priority for the Met. Every day our officers are working with partners across the capital to improve safety in our public spaces.

“Women should not have to change their behaviour and should be able to go about their business, feeling safe, any time of day or night. It’s our job to ensure that happens – but officers cannot be in all places at all times.

“I would urge our community, especially women, to report any suspicious or unwanted behaviour and seek help if you feel threatened.”

Anyone with information or footage, or any witnesses, are asked to call the major incident room on 0208 345 3715.