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Omens and girls are not safe on London’s streets, the family of slain law graduate Zara Alina warned, hitting out at probation service “incompetence” and other failings that left her killer free to strike.
Jordan McSweeney, a “serious and career criminal” with a history of violence, was wrongly assessed as a medium risk instead of high risk when he was freed from a ninth prison sentence and convicted of violating his terms. Should have already returned to jail. release.
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But the delay meant he was still free when he sexually assaulted and murdered Ms Alina, 35, dropped off in Ilford as she returned home in the early hours after spending a night in a bar on June 26 last year had gone from
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Jordan McSweeney being arrested
McSweeney, who had never met Ms Alina, had ensnared other lonely women before launching a brutal and fatal attack on her earlier that night.
She was badly beaten, having difficulty breathing and partially naked and died later that morning in hospital.
On Tuesday, a report into the tragedy by Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell blamed a succession of failures by overloaded probation staff and the prison service for leaving 29-year-old McSweeney free to kill.
Ms Alina’s aunt Farah Naz said she had died because of “incompetence” and warned other women would be in peril unless action was taken.
“It is clear that if probation is not doing its job then women and girls are not safe,” she said, adding that today’s report revealed “a range of errors” and failures – from front-line staff to managers and ministers. System responsible for maintenance.
Ms Naz told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “The errors are not necessarily down to a lack of resources or overwork, but rather incompetence, with leaders not implementing the recommendations of previous reports.”
“One instance in the report says that at one point of time six employees were on leave so public safety was at stake.
“Not following good practice in release planning, not following protocol on recall, not taking history of offenses into account and assessing properly, not taking into account their behavior and compliance in their adult and adolescent lives Doing.
“This is not a service doing its best with insufficient resources. It is a service that is disabled. Such people have been given licenses to do whatever they want on our roads. Recommendations have been made before… We need action and we need accountability, and not just from people on the front lines… These are leaders who have failed. We have ministers who have not responded to previous recommendations and they are accountable here.
Ms Naz also hit out at ministers for failing to personally apologize to Alina’s family for the errors that led to her murder.
“We don’t have a personal apology. We read it in the paper. It is completely unfair because we have lost a member of our family, a dear member of our family, for no reason at all.
Mr Russell’s report on Tuesday said McSweeney should have been classified as a “high risk of harm” offender when free and subject to strict controls, potentially a GPS tag, joint monitoring by police and probation staff , and release to a secure hostel.
They say a failure to share information between prison and probation staff about his violent nature, including weapon offenses behind bars, meant he was only classed as a moderate risk and was being treated as an unknown. The address was also released.
After missing three probation appointments, probation staff failed to recall him quickly enough and only 36 hours after they finally did, he killed Ms Alina.
McSweeney was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey in December.
Responding to the findings, Police Minister Chris Phillips said Ms Alina’s killing was “absolutely heartbreaking” and insisted action was being taken to prevent further tragedies.
Women’s safety campaigners said lack of funding was partly responsible for the number of errors.
Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said the report shows the justice system is struggling to protect women after “a decade of draconian policies”.
The charity boss said: “This serious and appalling failure on the part of the Probation Service is yet another way in which the criminal justice system is appallingly failing to protect women and girls and prevent further violence and abuse.”
London’s Victims Commissioner Claire Waxman said the “damaging review” exposed a “litany of errors and oversights” and “painted a clear picture of a disjointed system that is struggling to properly protect the public”.
“There was an almost complete failure to do an adequate risk-assessment of McSweeney, and no holistic approach was taken to look at his past,” she said.
“These are truly tragic circumstances, and reflect a justice system that is on its knees.
“Excessive workloads, low pay and low morale have led to severe staff shortages in probation, and the government must address these failings if they want to keep the public safe.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the probation failure was “symptom of wider issues” which “must be addressed urgently”.
Mr Khan said: “My thoughts are with Zara’s family and loved ones on this very difficult day.
“This is a damning report that makes clear that, even before Zara’s brutal murder, McSweeney was a dangerous, prolific and violent predator who should never have been set free to take the life of an innocent young woman.
“The Probation Service has failed in this matter and that failure is symptomatic of wider issues after 13 years of chaotic government policies and cutbacks, which must be addressed immediately.”
Fury at failings that left Zara Aleena’s killer on streets
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