A FORMER girlfriend of monster Jordan McSweeney revealed that she was terrified when he called her two days before killing Zara Aleena.

Stella Lowe, 22, breathed a sigh of relief after learning how evil McSweeney faces a life sentence after admitting the brutal murder of aspiring lawyer Zara.

The twisted thug pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the murder of law graduate Zara Aleena.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow KC told the court McSweeney launched an "attack upon a lone female late at night making her way home, a woman who stood no chance".

Stella, of Dagenham, Essex, told The Sun: “Zara could never have known what a monster was coming for her that night.

“He is a psycho and twisted in the head. But he deserves to be in prison, not a mental hospital – he knows what he’s done.”

She added: “He was a ticking time bomb and I was not surprised at all when I heard he had been arrested for Zara’s murder.

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“He should never be released from prison or be allowed near any woman again.”

Traumatised Stella revealed how McSweeney called her two days before murdering Zara following his release from prison and asked her to meet up, leaving her scared for what he could have wanted.

She refused to see him and Stella said: “It worries me now that the  attack on Zara could have been for me.

“Maybe he got angry because I wouldn’t meet him and then later he went on to do this.”

Stella told how the brute mercilessly tormented her during their nine-month relationship in 2018 which began after he falsely told her he was dying from leukaemia.

She said: “We had this incredibly emotional conversation about it and I was crying, asking him about death, then later that same night he asked me to be his girlfriend.

“Of course it wasn’t true, just the first of thousands of lies he told me. He kept this up though and used it to manipulate me.

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“He would later go off and say he was at these medical appointments but who knows what he was really doing – probably sleeping with someone else or thieving somewhere.

“Then when we would argue or if I ever tried to leave him he would say he would refuse surgery and would let himself die and it was all my fault.”

Soon after meeting, Stella started working with McSweeney on a travelling fair and moved into his caravan.

But their romance was short-lived as began beating her and threatening her family.

She said: “He would say he was going to petrol bomb this house with my mum and my little brother and sister inside.”

The control freak also took her phone away and banned her from speaking to her family.

Stella said: “When we first moved in he took my phone from me and smashed it to pieces, so I had no contact with anyone. 

“It was my only way of speaking to anyone. It was nine months before I could speak with my mum and my family again.”

“ I found texts from him to another girl telling her she was beautiful. I confronted him about it and he beat me up for about three hours straight."

Stella went on: “I started working with him and things were fine for about a week and then he hit me for the first time. The beatings then became more and more frequent.

“If I was putting makeup on in the morning he would hit me and say I was doing it for someone else at the fair that day.

“There were times where he would smoke weed and if there was some missing from the caravan I was blamed for it and got beaten up for it. 

“There were texts on his phone I found once from him to another girl telling her she was beautiful and when I confronted him about it he beat me up for about three hours straight in the caravan. 

“But he would never leave bruises, he was too clever for that. 
“He would hit me in the back of the head and I would have bumps there. 

“He would punch and pinch my legs, spiteful stuff. 

“He once kicked me out of the caravan in the middle of the night and I was knocking to get back in, so he came out and smashed the door on my head then just left me out there. 

Stella told how he constantly watched her while they were working on fairground rides.

She said: “If I was standing somewhere where he couldn’t see me he would come storming over and place me somewhere so he could watch me from the other side of the fair. 

“If I spoke to anyone else there, any man at the fair I knew I would be beaten up that night.” 


Stella also told how the bully targeted weaker people.

She said: “There were times when he would hit other people in front of me. Little skinny guys who were physically much smaller than him.

“He would say horrible, awful things all the time. He picked on women, he would target people physically weaker than him. 

“But once a man stood up to him and beat him up, and he was crying and apologising in the street. 

“He’s always been a coward, attacking those weaker than him, and maybe his life has just been building up to this because he was never stopped.

“Twice in our relationship I stood up for myself and hit him back when he was hitting me and both times he grabbed me, hugged me and said “I’m sorry, can we stop fighting?”

“I wish I had fought back every time. Maybe things would have been different.”


Stella and McSweeney split up when he was arrested for burgling a house on their street where a mother lived with her daughter.

She said: “We came back here for the winter and he headbutted the neighbour. 

“He had no money because the fair was finished so he felt the need to rob this woman and her daughter and got arrested. 

“I visited him in prison for about three months in Pentonville and we used to write to each other. I was still scared of him but eventually I realised he couldn’t hurt me while he was in there.

“I wrote him a letter ending it and then burnt all his letters and every trace of him.” 

Stella revealed that McSweeney had smoked mind-bending Spice in jail that "messed with his head".

And the traumatised ex rued that innocent Zara would have had no warning of the monster who murdered her in cold blood in a sexually motivated attack.

“Every time I saw a girl with him on social media after me I tried to warn them about him. 

“But no one could have warned Zara… she could never have known what a monster was coming for her that night. She was a stranger to him and had no warning.”

Stella went on: “He just picks on women. People are too scared of him to report him to the police so that’s why he’s not known for violent crimes. 

“I never went to the police because he told me he was going to petrol bomb my family home. 

“When he went to jail I finally started telling people what he was really like.”


Stella described McSweeney as a “master manipulator" who was a different person behind closed doors.

She added: “He was my first proper boyfriend and I didn’t know any better.

“Sometimes he would be lovely company and he was very good at presenting himself as a nice man – you would never know what he was like behind closed doors. 

“He would be overly affectionate and make a show in public but there was a darker side in private.

“He’s very manipulative, he’s very skilled at it. He’s good at pretending to be a nice guy.”

Stella continued: “He had no aspirations to be anything better than a petty robber. 

“Burgling people, robbing people in the street, stealing cars – aside from working on the fun fairs, that is all he does. 

“When I saw his name on the news about Zara’s murder I was shocked but not surprised.

“I was scared about seeing him again when he got out of prison and suddenly he called me out of the blue, offering me money.

“I did need help at that point but decided against seeing him.

“He put me through an horrific ordeal but I am stronger for it and don’t have to worry about him now…he won’t be coming out of jail for many, many years, if ever.”

At court today, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said: "She is not the first woman to have attracted the attention of this defendant that night.

"The danger he poses to any woman should he be released on bail.' McSweeney has previous convictions for failing to surrender in the past, the court heard.

He has previously committed offences whilst on bail. At the time of this offence he was on licence having been released from a prison sentence – on June 17 – for robbery, it is said.

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Mr Glasgow told the court McSweeney has 28 previous convictions for 69 offences including burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, driving offences, criminal property, assaults on police and assaults on members of the public.

The prosecutor added that McSweeney is "uniquely unsuitable forbail" while the judge said to the defence advocate that it would be difficult to persuade any court that he should be on bail.

How you can get help

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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