Zara Aleena's family demands inquiry into claims her killer had sex with prison worker at high security jail

Zara Aleena was murdered in June 2022 (PA Media)
Zara Aleena was murdered in June 2022 (PA Media)

The family of Zara Aleena have called for a public inquiry into claims her murderer had sex with a prison worker at the high security jail where he is incarcerated.

Ms Aleena, a 35-year-old law graduate, was sexually assaulted and killed in a late-night attack as she walked home from a night out in Ilford, east London, in June 2022.

Jordan McSweeney, 30, is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 33 years after admitting Ms Aleena’s murder and sexual assault.

Last week it emerged McSweeney was reportedly caught having sex with a prison worker inside HMP Belmarsh last April.

A source allegedly told the Mail the killer was caught with a prison worker - who is not a prison officer - after the pair locked a room from the inside at the prison.

The worker has allegedly been suspended.

Jordan McSweeney (PA Wire)
Jordan McSweeney (PA Wire)

An internal investigation is said to be underway into how the incident happened, but Ms Aleena's family is now calling for a public inquiry into the incident.

Her aunt, Farah Naz, told the Mirror she learned of the incident last May, a month after it allegedly happened.

"I was obviously shocked and disgusted," she said.

"Is Belmarsh a social club or our country’s most high-security prison? There are serious questions to be answered and we need a public investigation.

"Zara doesn’t even get to breathe but her killer gets to have sex in prison."

Metropolitan Police confirmed it is investigating an incident at HMP Belmarsh.

A spokesperson told the Standard: "On April 6, 2023, the Met received an allegation of inappropriate conduct involving a serving member of staff at HMP Belmarsh.

Farah Naz, aunt of murdered law graduate Zara Aleena (PA Archive)
Farah Naz, aunt of murdered law graduate Zara Aleena (PA Archive)

"The same day, a 32-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

"She was bailed pending further enquiries until a date in late July. She was later released under investigation. Enquiries are ongoing."

When asked by the Standard if a public inquiry will be carried out, a Prison Service spokesperson said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on a live police investigation.”

McSweeney, from Dagenham in east London, had only recently been released from prison when he carried out his brutal June 2022 attack on Ms Aleena, in which he kicked and stamped on her.

He had 28 convictions for 69 crimes, dating back to 2006, ranging from burglary to assaulting the police and including racially motivated offences.

The Old Bailey previously heard McSweeney stalked Ms Aleena along Cranbrook Road before grabbing her from behind and dragging her into a driveway.

A still taken from Met Police body worn camera footage of Jordan McSweeney being arrested (PA Media)
A still taken from Met Police body worn camera footage of Jordan McSweeney being arrested (PA Media)

The attack, caught on grainy CCTV, lasted nine minutes and resulted in 46 separate injuries.

Ms Aleena, who was training to be a solicitor, was found struggling to breathe and later died in hospital.

McSweeney's barrister George Carter-Stephenson KC accepted the "opportunistic", sexually motivated attack and murder were "particularly savage and brutal".

McSweeney was sentenced to a minimum prison term of 38 years after admitting Ms Aleena's murder and sexual assault.

This was reduced to a minimum of 33 years in November, following a Court of Appeal ruling.

Ms Aleena's family described the minimum sentence reduction at the time as a "shallow triumph" for McSweeney which sends a "disheartening" message to women, as they branded him a "repugnant man".