Zara Aleena death: Tributes to law graduate killed as she walked home in Ilford

 Zara Aleena
Zara Aleena suffered multiple injuries during the attack in Ilford, east London Credit: BPM Media/Met Police

A woman killed near her home in east London had the "biggest heart" and always put her friends first, staff at her old school said.

Zara Aleena as attacked by a stranger as she walked along Cranbrook Road in Ilford, east London, towards Gants Hill station in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The 35-year-old law graduate was fondly remembered by staff at Beal High School where she was a student until 2006.

"Zara always had a smile on her face for everyone!" a statement read.

"Zara was first and foremost a kind student, with the biggest heart, who always saw the best in people.

"She looked out for her friends, always put them first and went above and beyond to make sure they were ok.

"We are proud that Zara attended our school and went on lead a successful and happy life.

"We are devastated by her tragic death and will do anything we can to support her family, friends and local community during this dreadful time," the statement added.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.

According to reports, Ms Aleena had just passed her law degree and was working as an administrative officer at the Royal Courts of Justice. Her profile on the career networking site LinkedIn said: “My excellent interpersonal skills mean that I like people and they like me. I have strong organisational skills. Additionally, I bring energy, enthusiasm and ambition to any job role that I am in.”

Police at the scene in east London close to where Zara was attacked Credit: BPM Media

Police said Ms Aleena suffered multiple injuries and it appeared no weapon had been used in the attack.

  • Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that 14 of the 44 victims of suspected homicides so far in 2022, not including Ms Aleena’a death, were women.

  • In 11 of these cases the suspect is a relative or friend of the victim, another died in a house fire, and the relationship between suspect and victim in the remaining two is not yet clear.

  • It is rare for a victim to be murdered in the street by a stranger – according to the Office for National Statistics in the year to the end of March 2021 in England and Wales 6% of female victims and 18% of males were killed by strangers.

Jebina Nessa - the sister of school teacher Sabina Nessa killed by a stranger as she walked at night in Greenwich last year - joined the calls for more to be done to end male violence against women.

She tweeted:

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