Today, a court heard Aiia Maasarwe's last words. The female judge thought we ought to know them, too.


This post deals with graphic descriptions of violence and sexual assault and will not be suitable for all readers. 

With AAP.

Aiia Maasarwe called her sister seconds before being beaten with a metal pole, raped, murdered and set alight on her way home from a Melbourne comedy club.

Codey Herrmann hit the 21-year-old international student over the head four times with a metal pole after she got off a tram at Bundoora, in the city’s north, early on January 16.

He dragged her into nearby hedges, beat her at least another nine times, strangled and sexually assaulted her, Victoria’s Supreme Court was told on Tuesday.

It’s unclear whether Maasarwe was still alive when Herrmann covered her in WD-40 spray and set her on fire using a barbecue lighter.

The details came after Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth scrapped a suppression order banning publication of details about Maasarwe’s fate.

The Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship had moved to Australia to study the previous August, and called one of her overseas-based sisters seconds before the attack.

“She felt safer doing that, speaking to someone on the phone … whilst walking home at night,” prosecutor Patrick Bourke told the court.

“I didn’t expect you to pick up,” was all Maasarwe managed to tell her sister, Ruba, before the phone fell to the ground, Bourke added.

But the call was still running and Ruba heard her sister scream and then four blows.

Maasarwe died from extensive head injuries, including multiple skull fractures.

A pathologist was unable to confirm whether she was still alive when Herrmann covered her with WD-40 and set the liquid alight.


Her body was discovered in the bushes hours later by someone on their way to work.

Herrmann was arrested two days later, after police found his blood-stained cap and t-shirt, as well as the WD-40 can and pole abandoned in a nearby reserve.

When asked if he killed Maasarwe, Herrmann told police “I didn’t kill no one”.

He later pleaded guilty to her rape and murder but maintained he did not intentionally strangle his victim, Herrmann’s lawyer Tim Marsh said.

In a statement read to the court, Ruba Maasarwe said she could not imagine how her sister must have felt before she died.

Maasarwe’s mother, Kittman, asked: “Why? Why should I lose my daughter because of a reckless monster in the form of a human being?”

“I was not with her to help her, defend her, protect her,” the mother wrote.

Marsh labelled the attack violent and brutal.

“She had the right to both feel safe and be safe in a public space,” the lawyer said.

Herrmann had been squatting in a condemned house when he killed Maasarwe.

His routine could be summed up as: “Get Centrelink, buy drugs, share them with mates,” Marsh said.

The hearing continues.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.