The family of a former girlfriend of evil murderer Jordan McSweeney believe he was mentally disturbed.
Mum Nicola West says daughter Samantha Bryan, 30, was still haunted by an abusive four-and-a-half year relationship with McSweeney, 29.
This week McSweeney admitted killing law graduate Zara Aleena, 35, as she walked home from a night out near her home in Ilford, East London, on June 26.
Nicola said: “Our hearts go out to Zara’s family. I cannot imagine the pain they’re going through.
“I used to be so scared this would happen to my daughter, I told her at the time I couldn’t sleep as I was afraid I’d get a knock on the door to tell me she was in a morgue.”
She said: “Jordan’s brain wasn’t wired right. I’m so relieved he’ll be off the streets.”
Samantha, who began dating him aged 15, was too upset to discuss the relationship but shared a photo she says was taken after he stamped on her head and left her with a black eye.
He regularly punched her, burnt all her clothes and locked her in their house, say Samantha’s family.
Nicola said: “One time he was beating her up and she called us.
“When we got there he was running up and down the stairs screaming and hitting her. He chased my son around a car with a knife. He was an evil lunatic even aged 16.” On Friday it emerged McSweeney has 28 previous convictions for 69 offences, including assault.
At the time of Zara’s murder he was on licence after a conviction for criminal damage, racially aggravated harassment and having a knife.
His licence was revoked by the Probation Service due to missed appointments but he had not been recalled to prison. He ambushed Zara, punched her head before dragging her into a driveway to carry out a deadly assault.
Her half-naked body was found at 2.44am. She was taken to hospital but Zara died of her head injuries. Police used CCTV tracked McSweeney to his caravan in Dagenham, East London.
Earlier another ex of McSweeney, Stella Lowe, 22, called him a “psycho and twisted in the head”.
Zara’s death, in the wake of the murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and Sabina Nessa, caused another huge outcry over women’s safety. Zara’s family held a vigil after her murder.
The Probation Service said: “This was an appalling crime and our thoughts remain with Zara Aleena’s family and loved ones.”
The Ministry of Justice has launched an internal review into how he was able to commit a serious further offence while on licence. He will be sentenced on December 14.