The sexual predator who stalked and murdered Zara Aleena in Ilford is bidding to reduce his prison sentence, calling it “excessive”. 

Jordan McSweeney targeted at least five other women before he stalked 35-year-old Zara as she walked home from a night out in June last year. 

He followed her along Cranbrook Road before grabbing her from behind and dragging her into a driveway where he attacked her for nine minutes resulting in 46 separate injuries. 

The 29-year-old from Dagenham, who refused to attend his sentencing hearing, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 38 years after admitting Zara’s murder and sexual assault. 

He is now set to challenge this sentence as “manifestly excessive” at the Court of Appeal on Friday morning (October 20). 

The Old Bailey previously heard that McSweeney had been released from prison on licence on June 17, just nine days before the murder. 

Ilford Recorder: Law graduate Zara Aleena was 35 when she was murderedLaw graduate Zara Aleena was 35 when she was murdered (Image: PA)In that time, his licence had been revoked after he failed to attend any meetings with probation workers. 

Following Zara’s murder, 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. 

Describing McSweeney as a “career criminal” in and out of jail since the age of 16, Mr Russell said he “should have been considered a high-risk-of-serious-harm offender”, adding: “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.” 

Friday’s hearing before Lady Chief Justice Lady Carr, Mrs Justice McGowan and Mrs Justice Ellenbogen is due to begin after 10am.