A Man Charged With Murdering Courtney Herron, Found Dead In A Melbourne Park, Has Faced Court
Henry Hammond has been charged with one count of murder.
A man charged over the murder of 25-year-old homeless woman Courtney Herron has faced court.
Homicide squad detectives on Sunday arrested and charged Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, with one count of murder following Herron's death, police said in a statement on Monday morning.
Herron's body was found by dog walkers in Royal Park, Parkville, on Saturday morning. Herron was killed in a "horrendous bashing", police said on Sunday.
“Courtney had experienced issues with drugs and mental health,” detective inspector Andrew Stamper told reporters.
"Homelessness is often a factor that goes with those two challenges in life."
He said Herron had been couch surfing with friends and "possibly sleeping rough" some nights too.
“We do have a result from the post-mortem examination that revealed she died as a result of a horrendous bashing – that’s the only way to describe it.”
He said Herron's recent contact with her family had been "sporadic" but that they were "heartbroken".
Hammond had a black eye when he appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Monday morning, The Age reported.
He will remain in custody until he faces court again on September 16.
Hammond's lawyer Bernie Balmer told the court Hammond had been diagnosed with ADHD disorder and that he was taking Ritalin. He also said his client had potentially been diagnosed with delusion disorder and autism.
Outside court, Balmer told Nine News it was a "tragic and complex situation".
"You'd understand how he'd be feeling in the circumstances," he said.
Victoria’s peak body for homelessness has called on the state's government to provide safe housing options for vulnerable women.
“We can protect women like Courtney, but as a society have to choose to do it and it's a choice that Victoria can and should make," the Council to Homeless Persons chief executive Jenny Smith said in a statement.
"There are far too few housing options that women on low incomes can afford, and crisis accommodation and refuges are full of people who can’t move on to permanent housing, because the affordable options just aren’t there."
Smith said there often wasn't a safe option for homeless women which left them with "unsafe housing options like rooming houses" where they were vulnerable to physical and sexual assault.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, there are national and state-based agencies that can assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).