Courtney Herron’s body, bearing the signs of a “horrendous beating”, was found by dog walkers in Royal Park, Victoria, at 9:15am on Saturday morning.
She was hard to identify at first.
With no fixed address, there had been no one waiting up for her. No one who noticed she hadn’t come home that night.
The 25-year-old likely spent her last night alive sleeping in a park, as the season edged closer to winter. It would have been freezing and it would have been dark.
But before long, police identified the woman as Herron, a former government worker known to the community.
Her friends described her as “funny”, “friendly” and “generous”. She had family that loved her. In the past she had stayed with her mother, her ex-boyfriend and friends. But it became increasingly difficult, because at the time of her death, Herron was also a woman struggling.
An ex-boyfriend, Terrick Norris, told The New Daily, that Herron was “addicted to drugs and sometimes it got a bit too much.”
Her life, according to friends, changed when she became addicted to heroin and ice. It was there she found herself stuck.
Speaking to The Project on Monday night, friend Jessica Bateman said she had been “worried immensely” that something would happen to Herron.
“Absolutely the system failed her,” she said.
“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 — and the fear of withdrawal is what really kept her using.”
“Failed” was a word reiterated by Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper.
“This was a young woman who had challenges in life and we as a community should be protecting these people and we didn’t,” he said.