The killing of Zara Aleena

This feature, which appeared in the Guardian’s Saturday Magazine on 14 January 2023, tells the story of a horrific crime and its aftermath. Zara Aleena was a bright young law graduate who was brutally murdered by a stranger as she walked home from her local pub in Ilford, on the outskirts of London. It prompted a national discussion about the pervasiveness violence against women and the inadequacy of police responses. I spent five months speaking with Aleena’s closest family and friends about their grief and their urge to create some meaning from this senseless tragedy.