stuff: A man has pleaded guilty to murdering Aiia Maasarwe, the young woman who was attacked in Melbourne’s north in Australia on her way home from a night out earlier this year.
Codey Herrmann, 20, appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link on Friday.
He spoke only to enter a plea during his brief appearance and showed no expression.
“I plead guilty,” Herrmann said.
Magistrate Michelle Mykytowycz remanded Herrmann in custody to appear before the Supreme Court next week so a date for his plea hearing can be set.
Maasarwe, a 21-year-old Palestinian student from Israel, was on her way home from a night out in central Melbourne when she got off the Route 86 tram in Bundoora.
She was on her phone to her sister about 12.10am on January 16 when Herrmann repeatedly bashed her and then sexually assaulted her.
Her body was discovered about six hours later.
Police have not disclosed details about the attack given its distressing nature, and police sources at the time described it as being as “horrendous as you can get”.
She was repeatedly assaulted and died from blunt force trauma, the court heard.
A suppression order prevents media from reporting further details of Herrmann’s crime.
Prosecutor Pat Bourke said Maasarwe’s family did not want details of her death released so as not to cause further distress.
Prosecutors spoke with Maasarwe’s sisters in Israel, via Skype, on Thursday night to advise them that Herrmann was going to plead guilty.
Maasarwe was on the phone to her sister, who heard noises before the call ended abruptly.
The night before her death, Maasarwe had been with friends at Flagstaff Gardens to practise her English, and then went to a gig at The Comics Lounge in North Melbourne.
She caught the tram about 10.50pm and got off at the stop closest to her student accommodation near La Trobe University in Bundoora.
Defence counsel Tim Marsh said Herrmann was indigenous and on psychiatric medication.
Maasarwe had only recently moved to Australia at the time of her death, and is understood to have been living in a small apartment near the university.
She had studied Chinese and English at Shanghai University, and had spent six months in Melbourne on a study abroad program at La Trobe University.
Her father said in the days after her death that his daughter was an adventurous young woman who loved to travel.
“She liked everything in Australia, she had a good time here. Really I appreciate all the people, the five months she was here. She enjoyed and had a good time here. But then this has come, the very worse. The most worse this can be,” he said.
His daughter was “all the time smiling”, he said.
“She had very big opinions, her mind open for everything. She liked to study different cultures, different nationalities,” he said.
“She doesn’t come with closed mind, closed idea from another culture, she respect all the people, she respect all the culture.”
Herrmann, a self-described rapper, was arrested in a park in Greensborough two days after Maasarwe’s body was found near a tram stop.
It was later revealed that a week before the murder, he had posted on Facebook: “International girl Of mystery You knows who you are.”
Herrmann attended Bundoora Secondary College until 2016 and went by several different names including Kody Wrex and Codey Kulla Kulla, and a rapper name MC Codez.
Friends said he used to hang around Bundoora, was often on the 86 tram, and was believed to have been couch-surfing prior to his arrest.
“He was on the 86 tram a lot. He was always on foot, I never saw him transport in any other way. Trams and buses,” one friend said.
Other friends of Herrmann said he was a troubled teenager. He and his sister spent most of their childhoods in foster care, living with a woman in Bundoora.
“He was a good kid growing up. As high school started he became a little bit depressed, a bit troubled and a bit into the drugs,” she said.
Source: Published by stuff