• Tuesday, July 23, 2024


Zara Aleena’s killer challenges ‘excessive’ life sentence

Jordan McSweeney targeted Aleena as she walked home from a night out in east London in June last year

Zara Aleena (Photo: Met Police)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE man convicted of stalking and brutally murdering aspiring lawyer, Zara Aleena, is poised to appeal his life sentence, which he deems ‘manifestly excessive’.

Sexual predator Jordan McSweeney had targeted at least five women before he attacked Aleena on the night of June 26, 2022, as she made her way home from a night out in east London.

The horrifying assault, which lasted nine minutes, was captured by grainy CCTV footage, revealing McSweeney ambushing Aleena, punching her from behind, dragging her into a driveway, and ultimately subjecting her to 46 separate injuries.

McSweeney, 29, had been released from prison on license a mere nine days prior to the murder. Subsequently, he was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 38 years after confessing to the murder and sexual assault of Aleena.

Despite his refusal to attend his sentencing hearing, McSweeney has now opted to challenge the sentence in a Court of Appeal. The hearing is scheduled for Friday (20) morning.

Just two days before the murder, McSweeney’s license had been revoked due to his failure to meet probation workers’ appointments. However, the recall request was still in the process of being executed, and the police were not informed of his impending arrest.

Following Aleena’s tragic murder, Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell highlighted a series of errors in the Probation Service’s handling of McSweeney.

He stressed that McSweeney, a ‘career criminal’ with a history of incarceration since the age of 16, should have been categorised as a high-risk offender.

According to Russell, if proper consideration had been given to his high-risk status, urgent action could have been taken to return him to prison after he missed his supervision appointments upon release from custody.

The appeal will be heard before Chief Justice Lady Carr, Justice McGowan, and Justice Ellenbogen and is scheduled to begin after 10am.

McSweeney had 28 previous convictions for 69 separate offenses at the time of Aleena’s murder, including burglary, vehicle theft, criminal damage, assaulting police officers, and assaulting members of the public while on bail.

Coroner Nadia Persaud announced on Tuesday (17) her intention to empanel a jury for a month-long inquest into Aleena’s death.

It will consider the actions of police officers and will also examine actions of prison and probation staff.

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