Murdered woman partied with 'killer' before death
MURDERED Melbourne woman Courtney Herron had reportedly been at a party with the man accused of killing her hours before she was brutally bashed to death.
Ms Herron, 25, had been at the social gathering in Melbourne's CBD with her accused killer Henry Hammond, 27, along with a group of friends.
Friends told police the pair were seen together following a public call for information after Ms Herron's body was found by a dog walker on Saturday morning at Royal Park at Parkville.
The information provided by the group of friends proved crucial in the arrest of Mr Hammond, according to multiple media reports.
Ms Herron had been sleeping rough on friends' couches but also slept in the park where she was found.
Mr Hammond, 27, is originally from Katoomba in the NSW Blue Mountains and had been living in Melbourne with no fixed address.
He was charged with murder and faced court yesterday. Appearing in the dock briefly at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court, Mr Hammond wore no shoes, appeared to have a black eye and smiled.
The court heard Mr Hammond had previously been diagnosed with ADHD and had "possible delusional disorder", "possible autism spectrum disorder" and had been prescribed Ritalin.
He nodded when he was told he will be remanded in custody to appear again on September 16.
Police said Mr Hammond did not have a mobile phone or a credit card, which made it harder for police to track him down.
Homicide squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said there appeared to have been some attempts made to conceal Ms Herron's body behind the logs.
"The level of violence involved here was extreme in my view," he told reporters on Sunday. "This was a particularly, particularly horrendous attack."
The exact cause of death was yet to be determined, and police said yesterday they didn't believe Ms Herron's death was sexually motivated.
Mr Hammond, who turns 28 on Wednesday, lists himself as single on a number of different social media profiles.
His profiles indicate he has fathered two children and spent time overseas after the birth of his second child.
He grew up in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and attended a private school in the Northern Beaches. He was recently living out of a van, according to Nine News.
Ms Herron's grieving family yesterday arrived at the memorial set up for the young woman in Royal Park. They left floral tributes and cards, including a message that said, "To our beloved Corki, forever in our hearts.
"You have been taken form us too soon. May you find rest and peace."
The difficult visit for the family comes ahead of a candlelight vigil, which will be held at Royal Park on Friday at 5pm.
Ms Herron's friend Jessica Bateman told The Project last night that the 25-year-old's family had tried to get her off drugs without success. She said Ms Herron was trying to get a place in public housing but the system had failed her.
"She was couch surfing and when she couldn't find a fiend to couch surf with, she'd spend nights in parks - the park that she was discovered in," Ms Bateman said.
"We worried about each other but I worried about her more so because I live in a house, I've got support systems, I've got family and Courtney didn't.
"She knew that her family loved her, but she wasn't in touch with them. It was very, if you will, sporadic.
"She was trying to get into public housing, she was trying to get onto methadone or something that would stop the withdrawal symptoms that she was going to face - and the fear of withdrawal is what really kept her using."
Ms Herron is the fourth woman killed in a public place in Victoria in the past 12 months. Her death sparked calls from politicians and police for men to reflect on their behaviour.
In June last year, Eurydice Dixon, 22, was killed in a park in Carlton, 1.6km from where Ms Herron's body was found.
In January, Aiia Maasarwe was killed walking home from a night out in the city. Her body was found a short walk from her apartment in Bundoora.
Last month, Natalina Angok was killed and left in an alley in Melbourne's Chinatown.
The Counting Dead Women project reports that 20 women have been killed in Australia this year at the hands of men.