Ilford: Woman killed in stranger attack named as Zara Aleena, 36on June 27, 2022 at 3:57 pm

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A man is held after she died following what police believe was an “attack by a stranger” in London.

Zara AleenaImage source, Met Police

A 35-year-old woman who died from severe head injuries after what police believe was a stranger attack in east London has been named as Zara Aleena.

Ms Aleena, who was local, was the victim of an “horrific assault”, police said, as she was walking on Cranbrook Road, towards Gants Hill station in Ilford, in the early hours of Sunday.

The Met Police said it believed she was a “victim of an attack by a stranger”. Her family has been informed.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested.

Officers said he was detained at an address in Ilford shortly after 16:00 BST and was being held on suspicion of murder.

Paramedics were at the scene at 02:45 BST on Sunday and took Ms Aleena to hospital, where she later died.

Police crime scene in Ilford

Image source, Amir Ahmed

In a statement, Chief Supt Stuart Bell said: “Zara, who lived locally, was walking along Cranbrook Road in the direction of Gants Hill Station when she was assaulted.

“It is now believed that she was the victim of an attack by a stranger.

No evidence of weapon

“Her family are aware of this and as the investigation progresses they will continue to be updated and supported.”

He added there was no evidence of any weapons being used in the attack, which left Ms Aleena with fatal head injuries.

A post-mortem examination revealed Ms Aleena had “suffered multiple serious injuries”.

Earlier, Chief Supt Bell said the investigation was being led by homicide detectives.

Crime scene aerial shot

Image source, Amir Ahmed

“I understand that for women, particularly locally, this is an incredibly distressing incident, and I urge you to be alert but not alarmed.”

He said officers were working “at pace” to establish what had happened.

‘Don’t feel safe’

Shopkeeper Kuldip Singh said he was concerned at the level of violence in the area, highlighting how this homicide was the third in five years.

Kuldip Singh

“This one was quite brutal,” he said. “It was a young lady but people don’t really feel safe in this location as much as they used to.

“If I was an elderly person or a female, especially in the winter months, walking through this road you could be at risk.”

A significant police presence is expected to remain in the area in the coming days.


Of London’s 45 homicide victims this year, 15 have been women.

This time last year there had been 56 London homicide victims, 12 of whom were female, according to Met Police, British Transport Police and City of London Police statistics.

Det Ch Insp Mark Rogers, who is leading the investigation, said his team were keen to hear from anyone who was in the Cranbrook Road area between 02:00 and 03:00, particularly those with dashcam footage.

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