Police will be examined on whether they can stop Zara Alina’s killer


Police who failed to call Zara Alina’s killer to prison before her murder will be examined over whether they could have done more to prevent him.

Coroner Nadia Persaud said on Tuesday that she would seat a jury for the month-long inquest into Ms Alina’s death.

Law graduate, 35 years old She was attacked while returning home From a night in Ilford, east London, on 26 June 2022.

Jordan McSweeney He was imprisoned for life With a minimum sentence of 38 years at the Old Bailey in December 2022 for the “horrifying and brutal” assault.

At a pre-inquest review hearing at East London Coroner’s Court in Walthamstow, Ms Persaud said: “I believe there is reason to doubt that MPS officers could and should have done more to locate Mr McSweeney prior to his attack on Zara Alina. A jury should be appointed to consider this question.

“I therefore request that this investigation be held before a jury.

“The investigation into Zara Alina’s death will look into the actions of police officers and will also look into the actions of prison and probation staff.

“These are all agents of the state and play a role in keeping the public safe.”

The jury must consider whether the officers did enough

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 states that a grand jury inquest must be held if a senior coroner has reason to suspect that a death resulted from an act or negligence by a police officer in the execution of his or her duty.

Ms Persaud said: “The actions or negligence of the police officers who were tasked with summoning Mr McSweeney falls within the scope of this investigation.”

McSweeney was released on license from prison on 17 June 2022, and after missing consecutive appointments, the Probation Service recalled him to prison on 24 June 2022 – but The police did not find him At the address he gave.

Ms Persaud said jurors would need to consider whether officers did enough to find him and “whether appropriate steps were taken to obtain information from Mr McSweeney’s mother”.

Ms Persaud said interested parties would include Ms Alina’s family, the probation service, the Metropolitan Police and Redbridge Council.

In a report published in January, Chief Probation Inspector Justin Russell highlighted a catalog of errors in the Probation Service’s handling of McSweeney, meaning he was not treated as a high-risk offender when he should have been.

CPS guidelines state that Article II inquests are enhanced hearings held in cases where the state or its “agents” failed to protect the deceased from a human or other threat.

“Having considered the additional disclosure received to date and considering the legal submissions submitted by the persons concerned, I indicate that Article 2 is engaged in this case in order to give effect to the enhanced procedural obligation,” Ms Persaud said.

Another pre-inquest review hearing is scheduled for March 4, and the inquest will be listed from June 3 to 28 in the same court.

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