WARNING: This story contains graphic content which will upset some readers.
Aiia Maasarwe never knew her killer, but he visited her apartment building in Melbourne’s northern suburbs twice in the six weeks before he attacked her, the Supreme Court of Victoria has heard.
On January 16 this year, Codey Herrmann attacked the 21-year-old Arab-Israeli student as she walked home from a social night out with friends in the city.
This morning, he was formally arraigned, pleading guilty to one charge of murder and one charge of rape.
Ms Maasarwe had just stepped off a city tram at Bundoora when she called her sister, Ruba, who was in Israel.
The court heard Ms Maasarwe often called someone while she was walking home alone because it made her feel safer.
Within seconds of the call connecting, Ms Maasarwe was attacked.
Her scream was heard down the line, along with and the words in Arabic, “You piece of shit”.
The court was told Herrmann initially hit her four times over the head with a metal pipe.
“Having incapacitated Aiia, the offender dragged her into a garden bed behind low hedges,” prosecutor Patrick Bourke told the court.
He raped her, the court heard, and then struck her another nine times.
She died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The court also heard there were, “burns apparent on various parts of her body”.
The court heard Herrmann had tried on December 3 and December 9 to get into the apartment building where she lived. He was of “no fixed abode” at the time, the court was told.
The court heard the visits to the apartment were not connected to the murder.
Herrmann also spent time hanging around the local shopping centre.
A few days before the murder, a friend discovered him asleep on the bedroom floor of his mother’s home where Herrmann told him: “Bro, I just had five psychoses. I saw a murder in my head.”
The court heard Herrmann, now 21, had no prior criminal convictions.
This was a, “violent and brutal attack on a woman who was walking home as she was perfectly entitled to do”, defence lawyer Tim Marsh said.
“He admits there is no justification for it.”
The court heard Herrmann had no recollection of the two hours before the attack.
“His was a lifestyle of intoxication through methamphetamines and cannabis.”
His background was one of “extraordinary dislocation”, the court heard.
Four victim impact statements were submitted to the court from members of Ms Maasarwe’s family.
Her sister who heard the attack, Ruba Maasarwe, said she looked up to Aiia, who “was well-spoken and optimistic and knew how to handle a situation”.
“But some situations no-one knows how to handle,” she said in a statement read to the court.
The court heard Ms Maasarwe’s mother, Kittam Maasarwe, still listened back to voice messages from her “beautiful girl”.
The court heard Ms Maasarwe told her family how much she loved Australia, her fellow students and her life at La Trobe University, where she was studying English.
“Why should I lose my daughter to some reckless monster?” Kittam Maasarwe asked via a statement read to the court.
“Why should a girl feel unsafe … returning from an outing? Where is justice?”
Herrmann faces a maximum sentence of life for murder and 25 years for rape.
The hearing continues.
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