Jordan McSweeney should not have been on the streets when he killed Zara Aleena (Picture: PA)
A sexual predator was left ‘free’ to kill a law graduate in a ‘senseless, merciless, brutal’ attack due to a string of failings by probation staff, a watchdog has concluded.
Zara Aleena, 35, was walking home from a night out in Ilford, east London, when Jordan McSweeney dragged her into a driveway and assaulted her ‘with a savagery that is almost impossible to believe’.
The 29-year-old, now serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 38 years, had a history of violence, having amassed 28 convictions for 69 offences dating back to when he was 12.
He was freed from prison on licence just nine days before the murder, however it later emerged that was revoked when he skipped meetings with his probation officers.
McSweeney should have been back behind bars within days of his release but he was never recalled.
Instead, he was ‘prowling the streets’ looking for a victim to attack, with CCTV footage played at the Old Bailey showing him stalking four other women before targeting Ms Aleena on June 26.
Jordan McSweeney was jailed for life at the Old Bailey (Picture: PA)
Zara Aleena was walking home when she was attacked (Picture: Metropolitan Police/SWNS)
In a damning report, chief inspector of probation Justin Russell highlighted a catalogue of errors in the Probation Service’s handling of McSweeney which meant he was not treated as a high-risk offender when he should have been.
The court heard McSweeney has convictions for assaulting previous partners and making threats of serious violence towards female prison staff.
His prison record includes more than 200 adjudications against him, with several for committing ‘assault’, and for ‘using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’.
The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb called him ‘a pugnacious and deeply violent man with a propensity to violence’.
Still image taken from body worn camera footage of Jordan McSweeney being arrested (Picture: PA)
Describing McSweeney as a ‘career criminal’, Mr Russell said he ‘should have been considered a high-risk-of-serious-harm offender’.
He added: ‘If he had, more urgent action would have been taken to recall him to prison after he missed his supervision appointments on release from custody.
‘The Probation Service failed to do so and he was free to commit this most heinous crime on an innocent, young woman.’
The report comes just a week after the watchdog laid bare another litany of failings by probation officers before ‘psychopathic’ killer Damien Bendall murdered three children and his pregnant partner.
Bendall, 33, is serving a whole-life order for the murders of Terri Harris, 35, her daughter Lacey Bennett, 11, her son John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, after he attacked them with a claw hammer at their home in Killamarsh, Derbyshire. He also admitted raping Lacey.
It also follows concerns raised nearly three years ago after serial …read more