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Courtney Herron's friend says the system let her down before she was murdered, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Courtney Herron’s friend says the system let her down before she was murdered.

When Jessica Bateman saw her friend Courtney Herron just over two weeks ago, she didn’t have enough money to get home.

Herron, who had been couch surfing and sleeping rough for some time, gave her $10.

It was a demonstration of how “generous” her friend was, Bateman said.

“I mean, she could’ve put that towards a bed, shelter for the night, safety, but she got me back home.”

Courtney Herron was "absolutely" failed by the system, friend Jessica Bateman said.

Herron's body was discovered by dog walkers in Melbourne's Royal Park on Saturday morning, and Bateman told The Project on Monday night she was "shocked and saddened" to hear of her friend's murder.

Bateman had "worried immensely" about her.

"She was couch-surfing and when she couldn’t find a friend to couch-surf with, she’d spend nights in parks - the park that she was discovered in," Bateman said.

"We worried about each other but I worried about her more so because I live in a house, I’ve got support systems, I’ve got family and Courtney didn’t.

"She knew that her family loved her, but she wasn’t in touch with them. It was very, if you will, sporadic."

Bateman said Herron 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," Bateman 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," she said.

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"Those two things... it leads to jails, institutions, homelessness and death."

Police arrested Henry Richard Hammond, 27, on Sunday and he faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday on a single charge of murder.

Dressed in black, and without shoes, Hammond said nothing during the short court appearance.

With one black eye, he looked around the courtroom, sometimes smiling.

Insp Stamper said there had been some attempt made to conceal the body and there was no evidence the crime was sexually motivated.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said "Violence against women is absolutely about men’s behaviour, it’s not about women’s behaviour".

“Every time I hear about a woman being attacked – for me as a man – it gives me some pause for reflection about what it is in our community that makes men think it’s OK to attack women, or take what they want from women,” he said.

“We need to reflect on our own behaviour, the behaviour of men known to us. We need to reflect on what we say to our sons, about whether they’re respecting their playmates in the playground, or respecting women in the early days when they’re looking to embark on relationships with women. We as a society need to take an opportunity to reflect on how men view women in our community.”

Hammond will be remanded in custody until a committal mention on September 16.

2. NSW police are preparing to question Ivan Milat over unsolved homicides.

ivan milat cancer
The serial killer has terminal cancer.

NSW Police are preparing to speak to backpacker serial killer Ivan Milat about his crimes and unsolved homicides he is linked to as he battles terminal cancer.

Milat was taken from Goulburn's supermax jail to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick earlier in May for medical tests, where he remains. He is dying from oesophagus and stomach cancer.

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AAP understands NSW police are preparing to interview the 74-year-old.

Milat has never confessed to killing seven backpackers and has maintained he is innocent.

Milat's nephew, Alistair Shipsey, told Network Ten earlier this month his uncle's condition is "very bad" and he has a couple of weeks to live.

Milat - who's reportedly lost 20 kilograms in recent weeks - hasn't been able to eat or keep food down.

The former road worker was sentenced in 1996 to seven consecutive life sentences for murdering seven backpackers whose bodies were found in makeshift graves in NSW's Belanglo State Forest in the 1990s.

He also kidnapped British tourist Paul Onions who managed to escape from Milat's vehicle.

3. WA father-of-two planned his wife's murder for weeks.


Fahima Yusuf's dying words to her husband of eight years were "I love you" as he struck her with a wheel brace then choked or suffocated her in bed while their two young children slept nearby.

The first blow came as the 32-year-old slept, but even after waking she was easily overpowered.

Ahmed Dawood Seedat, 37, buried his wife in the backyard of their Perth home in a hole earlier created by a contractor, who was told it was to install a pool for the couple's children, aged two and five.

West Australian Supreme Court Justice Bruno Fiannaca said Ms Yusuf's final words only demonstrated her horror, betrayal and desperation to stop Seedat.

The accountant, who admitted murdering his wife in August 2018, wept as he was sentenced on Monday to life behind bars.

He must spend at least 23 years in prison for the killing, which Justice Fiannaca described as brutal, callous and cowardly.

Seedat had claimed his wife became "sexually aggressive", prompting him to attack, but Justice Fiannaca said that was implausible.

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He found Seedat planned the murder for weeks and had egotistical motives.

There was no evidence Ms Yusuf planned to end the marriage, rather it was Seedat, who had been gambling heavily and hiring escorts, who wanted out.

The court heard Seedat had searched online for chilling terms such as "cremating a body", "best place to knock someone out" and burying someone alive.

Ms Yusuf's cause of death remains undetermined but she suffered cuts and had sand in her mouth but not in her airways.

After Ms Yusuf's death, Seedat lied to explain her absence, telling friends and neighbours she went to the UK for eye surgery and telling her sister she left him.

Seedat also asked a friend to call Ms Yusuf's interstate father and impersonate a police officer.

But he was not fooled and reported her missing four days after her death.

Police found her body the following day.

Justice Fiannaca said it was part of Seedat's narcissistic traits that he thought people would believe his lies and he could get away with the crime.

"It may have been technically clumsy but it was calculated behaviour," he said.

Seedat had intended to try to pursue a relationship with his sister-in-law, who he described as his best friend, but she viewed him as a brother.

"You envisaged a future with your sister-in-law ... you had become emotionally dependent on her," Justice Fiannaca said.

Seedat had also searched online: "Can you marry your brother-in-law if your sister is dead muslim?"

The court heard Seedat is separately facing fraud charges, with allegations he stole $5.7 million.

4. Samantha Knight's killer, Michael Anthony Guider, has backtracked on his guilty plea.


A "compulsive pedophile" due for release in 11 days now denies committing his worst crime - fatally drugging nine-year-old Samantha Knight and dumping her body, a Sydney court has been told.

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Michael Anthony Guider, 68, initially suggested aliens or white slave traders were behind the 1986 disappearance of the Bondi girl before eventually pleading guilty to her manslaughter in 2002.

Guider's 17-year maximum term expires on June 6.

Hearing a last-ditch bid on Monday to keep him behind bars, the NSW Supreme Court was told his story about Samantha had changed again.

"He will deny it to his dying day," Justice Richard Button said, quoting a recent medical report.

Samantha, whose body has never been found, was one of more than a dozen children Guider abused between 1980 and 1996 and one of those drugged with sleeping medication to facilitate his abuse.

The sentencing judge for Samantha's unlawful killing labelled the former gardener and part-time babysitter "a compulsive and committed paedophile who has little, if any, insight into the consequences of his behaviour".

The court on Monday was told Guider now claims his confession was made under pressure from police and others.

David Kell, representing the State of NSW, said Guider had a chronic history of abusing young girls and boys, often after endearing himself to their parents.

"(Even after Samantha's death) it did not cause the defendant to cease using the drug on other children," he said.

He argued Guider should not be released until at least August, when a decision is expected on whether he should be subject to a one-year detention order and subsequent five-year supervision order.

Guider's barrister Matthew Johnston said the pedophile had been a model prisoner and should be released on an extremely strict supervision order, which would have dozens of conditions and force him to live at a halfway house next to Long Bay jail.

The prison, where Guider is held, is eight kilometres from where Samantha Knight was last seen 33 years ago.

Mr Johnston added the determining factor before Justice Button wasn't Guider's guilt but whether the supervision order was sufficient to protect the community.

"He is a prisoner worthy of the next step of being tested under strict supervision," Mr Johnston said.

The court was also told Guider has been granted 20 day-leaves under the supervision of a chaplain, prompting a reaction from some in the public gallery.

Samantha's mother Tess Knight said she had only learned of the day releases a few days ago.

"I have been told it's part of a normal process and yes, I would have liked to have been told that," she told reporters outside court.

Justice Button will deliver his decision before June 6.

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5."The safety of women must concern us all." Minister for Women calls for focus on women's safety.

Keeping women safe, ensuring they have economic opportunities at their fingertips and achieving "genuine" gender equality are goals in the sights of Australia's new minister for women.

Marise Payne also believes her party must maintain its efforts to boost the number of women who sit on its parliamentary benches.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed on Sunday the senator would pick up the women's portfolio, in addition to her work as minister for foreign affairs, following Kelly O'Dwyer's resignation at the election

Asked about her priorities in the new job, Senator Payne highlighted the importance of securing economic opportunities for women.

The brutal murder of Melbourne woman Courtney Herron on the weekend has sharpened her focus on women's safety.

"We have been only too tragically reminded in the last couple of days - again in Melbourne with the appalling murder of Courtney Herron - that the safety of women is something that must concern us all," she told ABC Radio National on Monday.

The minister also plans to use her dual roles to pursue "genuine" gender equality, both at home and overseas.

But she acknowledges there is still work to do in the Liberal Party.

A spate of coalition women will be among newcomers in the 46th parliament, but women make up just over a fifth of the party's MPs and senators.

"We have to continue to work on this. It's not a 'turn up at the election and decide what you're going to do' matter," Senator Payne said.

"It's a matter that we have to work at consistently within our parties, across Australia, to ensure that we have great women standing for selection, great women able to be elected to key seats across the country and that is certainly going to be a priority of mine."

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