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Codey Herrmann has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Aiia Maasarwe.

A man has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of international student Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found near a Melbourne tram stop.

Codey Herrmann appeared via videolink in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday over the January 16 attack, and when asked how he would plead to the charges of rape and murder, answered, “I plead guilty”.

The 21-year-old woman’s body was discovered in the northern suburb of Bundoora, not far from where she alighted the route 86 tram on her way home after a night at a city comedy club.

Ms Maasarwe, a Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship, had been in Melbourne only a short time and was speaking by phone to her overseas-based sister, Noor, when attacked.

“She was living a dream in Melbourne, a dream that ended up being worst (sic) than a nightmare,” the sibling posted on Instagram a short time after the death.

Aspiring rapper Herrmann, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, was taken into custody two days after Ms Maasarwe was found dead.

His matter is due to be listed for a directions hearing in the Supreme Court next Wednesday.

What happened to Aiia Maasarwe?

Aiia Masarwe, a 21-year-old international student, was on the phone to her sister as she walked home from The Comics Lounge on January 16.

It was a warm night, right in the middle of the Australian summer.

Friends dropped her at the 86 tram, police understand, after attending the show in North Melbourne.

She got off on the corner of Plenty Road and Main Drive, and began the short walk home.

The familiar voice of her sister likely made her feel safer, navigating the dark streets in a foreign country.

But as they spoke, suddenly their conversation was interrupted by another voice. Or voices. The phone fell, and Aiia was gone.

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Her sister tried to call back. There was no answer.

We know that the student of La Trobe University, who had been in the country for six months, was likely murdered in the moments that followed. Her sister sat powerlessly, more than 13,000 kilometres away.

Neighbours reported screaming in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

But it wasn’t the voice of Aiia.

It was the sound of the woman who found her.

The student, who was less than a kilometre from her home, was partially dressed, with her sandals, phone, a book and her water bottle, scattered around her.

What do we know about Codey Herrmann?

From his social media accounts, Herrmann is a self-described aspiring songwriter and rapper. Before Maasarwe’s murder, he posted about drugs and depression.

“Suicidal thoughts yeah, I’ve walked the line. The real fight was keeping all the demons in my mind on the inside,” he rapped in a song posted to a website three months ago.

On January 8, Herrmann posted a short message to Facebook:
“International girl
Of mystery
You knows who you are.”

The Age reported Herrmann, who performs under the name MC Codez, is believed to have been a troubled teenager and was reportedly in foster care along with his sister.

An unnamed friend told the paper, “As high school started he became a little bit depressed, a bit troubled and a bit into the drugs,” she said.

“Most of his depression was because of his family stuff, he didn’t have much family around at all. Just his sister, they were very close.”

According to The Age, Herrmann was identified as key person of interest courtesy of forensic tests performed on clothing dumped near the scene.

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