Aiia Maasarwe’s killer got a discount on jail sentence
Codey Herrmann was given a five-year discount for pleading guilty to killing and raping 21-year-old student Aiia Maasarwe, despite his confession coming four months after he denied any involvement when arrested.
The admission, the fact he had no criminal history, his "fair" prospects of rehabilitation and his young age were among the mitigating factors Supreme Court judge Elizabeth Hollingworth considered when sentencing him to a minimum of 30 years on Tuesday.
His deprived childhood in which he was severely neglected, and his severe personality disorder also reduced his moral culpability "to some degree", she said.
Justice Hollingworth jailed Herrmann, 21, for 36 years, describing his attack on Ms Maasarwe in Bundoora on January 16 as "savage" and "unprovoked". She set a non-parole period of 30 years.
The prosecution, which had pushed for a life term, is considering an appeal.
As all sentencing judges are required to do, Justice Hollingworth declared that if Herrmann had not pleaded guilty she would have jailed him for 40 years, with a non-parole term of 35 years.
During her 50-minute sentencing remarks, Justice Hollingworth said Herrmann's personal circumstances had to be balanced with protection of the community.
"It is necessary to consider your background in some detail, to understand how you came to be the seriously damaged young man who committed these offences," the judge told Herrmann in explaining her sentence.
She acknowledged he had come to the attention of welfare authorities at just six months old, and the first three years of his life saw "extreme physical and emotional deprivation".
But the sentence must also reflect the court's denunciation of, and "the need for just punishment for these terrible crimes", she said.
"Women should be free to walk the streets alone without fear of being violently attacked by strangers," Justice Hollingworth said. "The murder and rape were completely random offences, committed against a total stranger, late at night."
She said it was "a significant aggravating feature" that Herrmann tried to destroy evidence by setting Ms Maasarwe's clothing and body alight.
But the fact the crime was an "unsophisticated, opportunistic attack, rather than a carefully planned crime" further reduced his sentence, she said.
Justice Hollingworth also took into consideration the victim impact statements of Ms Maasarwe's family, who told of how at times they feel like they were "stuck in a nightmare".
Moments before imposing her sentence, she indicated it was not a reflection of the worth or value of Ms Maasarwe's life.
"No sentence can ever reflect something which is beyond value," she said.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth made these remarks during her sentencing of Herrmann
Early guilty plea
"Your plea has facilitated the course of justice. The community has, by your plea, been spared the time and cost of a trial. The family and friends of Ms Maasarwe have been spared … a very traumatic trial."
No prior convictions
"Somewhat remarkably, given the chaotic life you were living before the start of this year, you have no prior convictions."
Prospects of rehabilitation
"I accept that you do have fair prospects of rehabilitation if you are given appropriate treatment, support and supervision."
Severe personality disorder
"Dr (Andrew) Carroll believes that your severe personality disorder led to you perceiving the world in a profoundly abnormal way, and severely impaired your ability to exercise appropriate judgment, to think clearly, to make … rational choices."
"The level of neglect was so profound that you and your sister had digestive problems, rotten teeth, and skin problems."
"Although the mitigatory effect of your youth is substantially reduced because of the seriousness of this offending, it still has some role to play in sentencing you."
"The disorganised manner in which you fled the scene, leaving a trail of incriminating items behind you, also suggests an unsophisticated, opportunistic attack, rather than a carefully planned crime."
Savage and sustained attack on victim's head with metal pipe
"You struck her with the clear intention of killing her, not merely injuring her. She died from her catastrophic head injuries."
Brutal attack on a stranger late at night on a public street
"Ms Maasarwe was doing nothing more than walking along a public street, on her way home from a night out, as she had every right to do."
Attempt to destroy evidence by burning
"It is a significant aggravating feature of your offending that you tried to destroy evidence by setting Ms Maasarwe's clothing and body alight. Treating her body in this way showed utter contempt for her dignity."
"It seems that you have limited insight and do not yet accept the full gravity of what you have done."
Denied involvement on arrest
"You only offered to plead guilty four months later, in the face of an overwhelming prosecution case against you."
Effect on victim's family
"You ended her family's dreams of sharing their lives and growing old together. At times, they feel stuck in a nightmare."