A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was beaten in the street by a stranger.

Zara Aleena, 36, was attacked as she walked along Cranbrook Road in Ilford during the early hours of Sunday morning (June 26).

Police say she lived locally and officers believe she was the victim of a random attack.

Her body was found at 2.40am by members of the public.

She died of multiple injuries, including to her head, but police cannot confirm if any weapons were used in the assault.

Not long after Ms Aleena was named by police as the victim, Scotland Yard confirmed a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Zara Alenna. Photo via Met PoliceZara Alenna. Photo via Met Police


Today in a statement (June 27), Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell described the murder as 'tragic' and said a full investigation was underway.

And local MP Sam Tarry said the murder was 'something out of the ordinary' for his contituents.

Chief Supt Bell said his officers are keeping Ms Aleena's family up to date with its investigation adding his "heartfelt condolences are with them at this terrible time".

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Police cordon in the Cranbook Road area. Credit: SWNSPolice cordon in the Cranbook Road area. Credit: SWNS

Chief Supt Stuart Bell added: "Our priorities are to ensure the safety of the local community and to engage locally with residents and people affected.

"We will be working closely with partners and locally elected representatives to do all we can to make people in this area feel safe and tackle offenders who harm people and cause alarm in our community."

"Women should not have to change their behaviour and should be able to go about their business, feeling safe, any time of day or night. It's our job to ensure that happens - but officers cannot be in all places at all times.

"I would urge our community, especially women, to report any suspicious or unwanted behaviour and seek help if you feel threatened."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Police cordon in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNSPolice cordon in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNS

Shocked neighbours recalled hearing “loud screams” after a woman was fatally attacked in a street.

Asking not to be named, one neighbour said she just got back from seeing Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium when she heard the screaming.

She said: "I came home about that time, we had just been to an Ed Sheeran concert. I heard screaming but I didn't know whether it was a child or a fox. I didn't think much of it. It's a shock because at 2am it was still busy with lots of cars."

She said the police called at her house and told her father the woman who was attacked was Asian and that they were looking for a white male.

The woman added: "I can't believe they [the attacker] dragged someone off the road, it's horrific.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Police in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNSPolice in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNS

Police were seen working outside a house today (Monday) midway down the street where the attack took place.

Forensic officers could be seen dragging a black tarpaulin towards a house and setting up an investigation tent.

Numerous side streets are also cordoned off and police have extended the area taped off to make the area investigators are probing even wider.

One woman who lived nearby said: "I won't go out after dark now, it's just too scary. It's just horrific to think this happened so close to home.”

Another neighbour said he first learned of the attack when he saw police on the street.

He said: "I got up and saw flashing lights at three in the morning and heard the helicopter and a police dog. When we found out what happened, we were just in shock."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Police forensics in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNSPolice forensics in Cranbrook Road. Credit: SWNS

Anyone with information or footage, or who witnessed the attack can call the major incident room on 0208 345 3715 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.