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Killer of Ilford’s Zara Aleena to fight for early release

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Aleena was murdered in Ilford

A sex offender who stalked and killed Zara Aleena plans to appeal his sentence via the Court of Appeal.

Jordan McSweeney targeted at least five women before focusing on Ms Aleena, 35, as she walked home from a night out early on June 26 last year.

McSweeney, 29, pursued her along Cranbrook Road in Ilford, east London, before grabbing her and dragging her into a driveway.

The incident, which was captured on grainy CCTV, lasted nine minutes and resulted in 46 injuries.

McSweeney was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 38 years after admitting murder and sexual assault in connection with the death of Ms Aleena.

Jordan McSweeney
Her murder drew national outrage as he was under probation supervision (Image: PA)
Zara Aleena
Zara was found lying on a pavement near her home (Image: PA)

On Friday morning, he plans to appeal this sentence as’manifestly disproportionate’ in the Court of Appeal.

McSweeney was released from prison on license on June 17, just nine days before the murder, according to evidence presented before the Old Bailey.

His license had been revoked at the time because he had failed to attend any appointments with probation officers.

Following Ms Aleena’s murder, Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell identified a series of failures in the Probation Service’s management of McSweeney, resulting in him not being handled as a high-risk offender when he should have been.

Describing McSweeney as a ‘career criminal’ in and out of jail since the age of 16, Mr Russell said he ‘should have been considered a high-risk-of-serious-harm offender’, adding: ‘If he had, more urgent action would have been taken to recall him to prison after he missed his supervision appointments on release from custody.

‘The Probation Service failed to do so and he was free to commit this most heinous crime on an innocent, young woman.’

Friday’s hearing before Lady Chief Justice Lady Carr, Mrs Justice McGowan and Mrs Justice Ellenbogen is due to begin after 10am.

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