A coroner’s court heard that aspiring attorney Zara Aleena died from head and neck injuries after being killed on the streets of east London last month.
In the wee hours of June 26, the 35-year-old was allegedly attacked by a “opportunistic stranger” as she went along Cranbrook Road in Redbridge, Ilford, after a night out.
Her death was caused by a neck compression and blunt force trauma, according to a post-mortem examination.
Jordan McSweeney, 29, the suspect, was detained and charged with murder; last week, he made an appearance at the Old Bailey.
He was remanded in detention until September 30 on charges of murder, attempted rape, and robbery.
Coroner’s officer Jean Smyth informed East London Coroner Nadia Persaud today that Ms. Aleena was admitted to the Royal London Hospital with multiple injuries just before 4.45am.
However, things became worse, and a short while after she was declared dead. Her maternal aunt Farah Naz recognized her corpse.
Neither family nor acquaintances of Ms. Aleena were present for the three-minute hearing.
The inquest was postponed pending the end of any criminal investigations by Ms. Persaud.
Police initially stated that they thought Ms. Aleena was a victim of a “opportunistic stranger attack.”
Last month, McSweeney was accused of robbery, attempted rape, and murder at Thames Magistrates’ Court.
Residents in the area heard screaming and frantically dialed 999 to summon police to the terrible scene last month.
Before transporting Ms. Aleena to the hospital, paramedics arrived on the scene and started CPR. A short while afterwards, she was pronounced dead.
In a statement, Zara’s devastated family described her as “everyone’s friend” and “pure of heart” and said the consequences had been “shocking and incomprehensible.”
She also “placed her party shoes in her luggage” and “walked everywhere” because “she believed that a woman should be able to walk home,” they added. She had aspired to be a lawyer since she was five years old.
She was a joy to all of us, with her dazzling eyes and curling, jet-black hair, it continued. Her wonderful laugh and her charming, happy voice. Her petite frame radiated an unbreakable vigor and drive.
She was genuine and didn’t try to impress anyone, but she still made an impression on us. Our family’s rock was she. Zara maintained her composure and never voiced any complaints. She held our neighborhood together.
Nobody worked more diligently than Zara, according to everyone who knew her. Zara was content and in a stage of life where her joy was overflowing.
She walked everywhere, they continued. She packed up her party shoes and put on her sneakers. She walked.
A lady should be able to walk home, according to Zara. Her plans to start a family have now been cruelly destroyed.
Hundreds of mourners gathered earlier this month at a silent vigil held in memory of the aspiring attorney as they followed the 35-year-route old’s home.
As requested by the family, most of the people strolling along Cranbrook Road were dressed in white.
Other people carried bouquets of flowers and photos of Ms. Aleena.
In honor of the most recent prominent victim of violence against women in the city, dozens of other mourners left flower bouquets and cards.
To allow the crowd to travel the 10-minute distance on foot from the location of her attack to her home, local roads were shut down.
Participants in the vigil gathered at Cranbrook Rise in Ilford at 1:30 pm and started the walk at 2:17 pm, which was the same time Ms. Aleena was attacked on June 26 in the morning.
Attendees are asked to wear white and to be “quiet and somber” as “we walk Zara home in our hearts,” according to her relatives.
‘We’re here to support the family, to bring her home in spirit, to honor her life, and we’re here with absolute exhaustion because we’re tired of vigils, we’re tired of crying, and we’re tired of having to bury women of all ages and stages in life,’ said Marai Larasi, a campaigner with Million Women Rise.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, remarked that Zara was a remarkable woman and an inspiration to all.
She firmly thought that every woman should be able to securely go home, and today, a large number of people from the neighborhood and around the nation gathered to complete the task she had begun.
“They are all in my prayers and thoughts today.”
“I’m clear that women shouldn’t have to alter their behavior, and every woman and girl has a right to feel safe — no matter the time of day or where they are — in their daily lives.
We owe Zara a debt of gratitude for doing everything in our power to end violence against women and girls.
Miss Aleena’s story is chillingly similar to that of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard, who were both murdered while returning home in the capital last year. Miss Aleena is the 16th woman in London and the 52nd woman in the UK to be killed by a man in 2022.
When discussing Ms. Everard’s case with a friend, Miss. Aleena allegedly exclaimed, “That won’t happen to us,” before sadly meeting the same end.