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Vigil to honour life of Zara Aleena to be held this weekend

Zara Aleena's family have organised a vigil for the 35-year-old who was killed as she walked home in north-east London on Sunday morning.

An image of Zara Aleena

Aleena was attacked while walking home from a night out in London. (Image: Met Police)

The family of Zara Aleena have organised a vigil to honour the memory of the 35-year-old, who was killed as she walked home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Aleena was attacked near her home in Ilford, north-east London and died in hospital later that morning.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, of no fixed address, has been charged with her murder as well as attempted rape and robbery. He is set to appear in court on Wednesday. 

In a statement, Aleena’s family paid tribute to the “carefree spirit, with the most caring heart”. They said: “Zara believed that a woman should be able to walk home. Now, her dreams of a family are shattered, her future brutally taken.”

The vigil will see the family walk the distance from where Aleena was attacked to her home, just 10 minutes away. It will take place in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, on Saturday at 1.30pm, with the walk beginning at 2.17pm.

A statement on the vigil posted by the family reads: “The tragic, brutal inhuman death of Zara Natasha Aleena has no place in this society. She was attacked at 2:17am on Sunday 26th June as she walked home.

“We want to bring her back to where she belonged safely.”

The family have asked attendees to wear white, and have requested that the mood remains “silent and sombre” as the group walks Aleena home.

Aleena had recently finished a legal practice course and had begun working for the Crown Prosecution Service to complete training to become a solicitor.

Her family described her as “authentic” and “the rock of our family”. 

“Zara was stoic and held it all together and never complained. She glued our community together,” they said in a statement.

At least 52 other women in the UK have been murdered in 2022 where the principle suspect was male, according to blog Counting Dead Women. 

In their statement, Aleena’s family extended their “deepest sympathy and love” to the families of other women who have died in similar circumstances , including Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

A spokesperson for campaign group Reclaim these Streets said: “Women should be safe wherever they walk, whatever time of day or night. We’re angry that male violence and misogyny means this still isn’t the case, and we’re angry and heartbroken that Zara’s life has been cut short so brutally.”

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