Zara Aleena: Photos from ‘moving’ vigil to walk home trainee lawyer killed in Ilford

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
“Her name is Zara Aleena. She was on a main road. It was brightly lit... don’t tell me women can do more to keep themselves safe. Tell me men can do more to stop the violence.”

Women, councillors, MPs and the community joined the family and friends of Zara Aleena, who was beaten to death while walking home in Ilford, in a vigil in her memory.

The 35-year-old trainee lawyer was killed in a brutal stranger attack which saw her attacked while walking along Cranbrook Road, towards Gants Hill station, at 2.17am.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Flowers left in tribute to Zara Aleena. Photo: Wes Streeting MPFlowers left in tribute to Zara Aleena. Photo: Wes Streeting MP
Flowers left in tribute to Zara Aleena. Photo: Wes Streeting MP | Wes Streeting MP

Her grieving relatives held a “moving” vigil to share their “heartbreak and pain” this weekend, on Saturday, July 2.

Mourners joined Zara’s devastated family in a walk at 2.17pm to mark the time of her death.

It comes as Louise De’Souza, 60, a neighbour who knew Zara since her childhood told the Mirror that the young woman refused to take cabs due to safety concerns.

She said: “Unless someone was sharing or she knew the driver, she wouldn’t get in.

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

“I said, ‘Don’t walk late at night’. She said she was safer because the street lights were on.”

Vigil attendees dressed in white and left floral tributes to Zara along the route.

Ilford South MP, Sam Tarry, said: “Today I attended the moving vigil for Zara Aleena and walked with women and friends from our community.

“I’ll continue to push the government for greater resources to ensure that unspeakable tragedies like this never happen again and that women can walk safely on our streets once more.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Mourners walked Cranbrook Road in Ilford. Photo: Catriona MartinMourners walked Cranbrook Road in Ilford. Photo: Catriona Martin
Mourners walked Cranbrook Road in Ilford. Photo: Catriona Martin | Catriona Martin

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, said: “Today our community turned out in our thousands in solidarity with the family of Zara Aleena and in honour of her memory.

“Now we have to build on the demands we heard today: to educate boys and men, for more and better policing, for an end to the culture of misogyny.”

While Redbridge council leader, Jas Athwal, added: “Today our community came together in our grief to walk with Zara Aleena’s family and finish Zara’s walk home.

“There are no words.”

Ilford MP Sam Tarry at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MPIlford MP Sam Tarry at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MP
Ilford MP Sam Tarry at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MP | Sam Tarry MP

And Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “In memory of Zara Aleena in Gants Hill with the London Black Women’s Project and hundreds of people from the community all united in solidarity, heartbreak and pain.

“To mark her memory and walk her home. Why we rise.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Barkingside councillor Judith Garfield also paid tribute to Ms Aleena.

She said: “A life lost, she had so much to do and so much to give.

Hundreds took part in the silent march. Photo: Hussain SyedHundreds took part in the silent march. Photo: Hussain Syed
Hundreds took part in the silent march. Photo: Hussain Syed | Hussain Syed

“We all came together today to finish her walk home.

“We will not forget Zara Aleena - rest in peace. We must do more to stop violence against women and girls.”

Khayer Chowdhury, who represents the area around Valentine’s Park, near to where Zara was killed, added: “Her name is Zara Aleena. She was on a main road. It was brightly lit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There are around 20 CCTV cameras on her route home excluding people’s residential cameras.

Crowds gathered at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MPCrowds gathered at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MP
Crowds gathered at the vigil. Photo: Sam Tarry MP | Sam Tarry MP

“Don’t tell me women can do more to keep themselves safe.

“Tell me men can do more to stop the violence.”

Zara’s death has reignited concerns over women’s safety, following the deaths of women in London including Sarah Everard, Nicole Smallman, Bibaa Henry and Sabina Nessa.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, of Dagenham, East London, has been charged with Zara’s murder.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.