Jordan McSweeney, 29 of Dagenham, Essex, pleaded guilty to the murder and sexual assault of Zara Aleena at the Old Bailey on Friday. McSweeney admitted the murder of the law graduate who was attacked as she walked home in the early hours of June 26 in Ilford, east London.
The court heard previously how Zara was discovered partially clothed, and struggling to breathe by horrified neighbours.
She was taken to the hospital where she died later that morning.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow KC had said McSweeney launched an “attack upon a lone female late at night making her way home, a woman who stood no chance”.
It can now be revealed that McSweeney was out on licence at the time of the murder after he was released from prison just nine days earlier.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Ms Aleena died from head and neck injuries.
McSweeney was captured on CCTV footage following Ms Aleena before dragging her into a driveway and attacking her.
He also stole her phone, keys and handbag.
Following her death, the family of Ms Aleena released a tribute saying: “Zara, 35, a beloved human, child, niece, cousin, granddaughter, friend to all, she was a joy to all of us.
“She was a carer for her mother, and her grandmother. Caring for others came so naturally to her.
“Zara was friendly, she was everybody’s friend. She was everybody’s daughter, everybody’s niece, everybody’s sister, everybody’s cousin. She was pure of heart.
“She was a joy to all of us, her sparkling eyes and the curly, jet-black hair. Her glorious laughter and her sweet, smiling voice. Her tiny frame embodied a passionate spirit and indomitable energy.”
Video footage from the area showed McSweeney appearing to target other women before he followed Ms Aleena.
After the killing, other CCTV captured him returning to his caravan in Dagenham, where police recovered Ms Aleena’s bloodstained clothes.
More bloodstains were found on a wall in Cranbrook Road with the defendant’s fingerprints identified on them.
After his arrest, McSweeney refused to answer questions but told officers he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
While in custody, he was also said to have threatened police officers.
Councillor for Ilford Khayer Chowdhury shared his views on the growing concern for women’s safety after a string of cases including the murder of Sarah Everard, who was murdered by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.
Councillor Chowdhury tweeted: Her name is Zara Aleena.
“She did nothing wrong. She had every right to feel safe on our streets.
“She was brutally murdered. We are failing as a society when our streets are not safe for women.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “heartbroken” by the murder.
McSweeney is due to be sentenced on December 14 at the Old Bailey.