Latest lone-woman killing spurs safety promise

The safety of women will be a top priority for the federal government after the bashing murder of Melbourne woman Courtney Herron.

The promise was made by the new Minister for Women Marise Payne - who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs - following her appointment on Sunday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

"We have been only too tragically reminded in the last couple of days, again in Melbourne with the appalling murder of Courtney Herron, that the safety of women is something that must concern us all," she told ABC radio on Monday.

Homeless man Henry Richard Hammond, 27, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday charged with murdering Ms Herron, who was found dead two days ago.

As Hammond sat in court with a bruised face and black eye, a lawyer outlined a number of his mental health issues before the matter was adjourned to September 16.

Ms Herron's battered body was discovered by dog walkers in Royal Park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Parkville on Saturday morning.

Police said the 25-year-old had suffered extreme violence.

"This was a particularly, particularly horrendous attack," Homicide squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.

Ms Herron had been couch surfing and sleeping rough for some time while struggling with drug and mental health issues.

Insp Stamper said while she had been in sporadic contact with her family there were "a lot of people out there who knew and loved Courtney".

"When there's a child that suffered drug use, mental health issues, family relationships can be fragmented," he said.

"That doesn't mean that families out there don't love their children, and you know, our heart breaks for them.

"We are dealing with a heartbroken family again."

Ms Herron's killing has sent shockwaves through Melbourne's community.

Over the weekend friends and others laid floral tributes at the site where her body was found - just a short distance from Princes Park, where the body of aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon was found on June 12 last year.

Ms Dixon, 22, was raped and murdered. Aiia Maasarwe, 21, also died after being attacked while walking home near La Trobe University on January 15.

Both women were attacked by men they did not know and who have since been charged.

Then in April, Natalina Angok's body was found dumped in Chinatown, allegedly killed by her one-time partner Christopher Allen, who has since been charged.

The last confirmed sighting of Ms Herron was on May 14 at St Albans when she came into contact with the police.

 

Comments

Ms Herron's circumstances indicate vulnerable women should be proscribed by law from sleeping rough. In NZ, the only way would be by Section under MH Act. Whatever it takes to keep them from harm.

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