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Date set for trial of man accused of Zara Aleena murder

The 35-year-old law graduate was attacked as she walked home from a night out in Ilford, east London, in June.

19 October 2022

A man will stand trial for the robbery, attempted rape and murder of law graduate Zara Aleena before the end of the year, a High Court judge has decided.

Jordan McSweeney allegedly attacked the 35-year-old as she walked home from a night out in Ilford, east London, in the early hours of Sunday June 26.

The 29-year-old defendant is accused of robbing her of her mobile phone, keys and handbag, and attempting to rape her.

During the attack, Ms Aleena was dragged into a driveway in Cranbrook Road, where she was kicked and stamped on, prosecutors alleged.

Zara Aleena death
Court artist sketch of Jordan McSweeney appearing at a previous hearing at the Old Bailey via video-link from HMP Thameside (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Emergency services were called after she was found with severe head injuries, struggling to breathe and partially naked.

A post-mortem examination found she had suffered multiple serious injuries.

On Wednesday, McSweeney, of Dagenham, east London, failed to attend the Old Bailey for his scheduled plea hearing.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb fixed a trial to start at the Old Bailey on December 5.

The senior judge adjourned the plea hearing until Monday October 24.

The defendant is in custody.

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