1. “She was like a little damaged bird.” Courtney Herron’s mother on losing her daughter.
Courtney Herron’s mother has spoken about her 25-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered by dog walkers in Melbourne’s Royal Park on Saturday morning.
Her mother Maxie told The Age her daughter was “believing, trusting, loving, but she was so vulnerable”.
“She was like a little damaged bird.”
Her mother told The Age of Courtney’s struggles with mental health and drugs, and said the last time the family had contact with Courtney was at Greek Easter this year.
In 2015, Courtney met Ahmet Ozkurt, a Kurdish refugee from Turkey who was working as an electrician. The pair fell in love and Ahmet was helping her to control her drug dependency and mental health, Maxie said.
The couple were planning to get married when Ahmet was taken to a detention centre after complications with his visa, which Courtney blamed herself for.
Maxie became Ahmet’s advocate, writing to politicians and immigration to help Ahmet get out. Following Courtney’s death, she plans to keep going.
“She begged me, please, please do whatever you can to make this right for me. If we as a family could right that wrong we would alleviate all that stress and pain and guilt she was carrying,” Maxie told The Age.
On Monday, Maxie visited the site in Royal Park where her daughter’s body had been discovered behind logs. It is now covered in flowers as a makeshift memorial.
Courtney’s friend Jessica Bateman told The Project on Monday night, Courtney was let down by a system that had failed to provide her with the assistance she needed with housing, drug dependency and mental illness.
“She was trying to get into public housing, she was trying to get onto methadone or something that would stop the withdrawal symptoms that she was going to face. The fear of withdrawal is what really kept her using,” she said.
She told host Waleed Aly homeless women were particularly vulnerable.
“Men can attack them, take advantage of them, especially when it concerns mental illness and drugs.”
Police have not released many details about Courtney’s death, but they have said the 25-year-old had suffered extreme violence.
“This was a particularly, particularly horrendous attack,” Homicide squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.
Insp Stamper said there had been some attempt made to conceal the body and there was no evidence the crime was sexually motivated.
Courtney had been couch surfing and sleeping rough for some time while struggling with drug and mental health issues. The sister of Courtney’s ex-partner, Terrick Edwards, told The Age she should be remembered for “the lovely woman she was and not just another homeless person who died on the streets”.