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Court dismisses appeal against sentence for violent student murder

The man who raped and murdered international student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne won’t have his prison sentence extended.

Prosecutors appealed the 36-year jail term handed to Codey Herrmann for Ms Maasarwe’s horrific rape and murder, arguing it was too lenient for his crimes.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal on Friday afternoon.

Herrmann knocked the 21-year-old unconscious with a metal pole, sexually assaulted her and set fire to her.

He was ordered to serve at least 30 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Victoria’s top prosecutor Kerri Judd QC had argued Herrmann should have received a maximum life sentence.

“This was a vicious, callous and intentional killing of an unsuspecting young woman who was the unfortunate and random victim of primitive male rage,” Ms Judd told a bench of five Victorian Supreme Court judges.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth’s sentence put too much weight on Herrmann’s traumatic and disadvantaged background and not enough on protection of the community, she said.

Ms Maasarwe had come to Australia in August 2018 on a one-year exchange program with La Trobe University in Bundoora.

She was on her way home from a night out, on a call to one of her siblings in Israel, when Herrmann attacked her.

“I didn’t expect you to pick up,” was all Ms Maasarwe managed to say before the phone fell to the ground.

Her last words to her attacker were: “you piece of s—” in Arabic.

Herrmann was homeless at the time. He had a history of substance abuse and a severe personality disorder.

A forensic psychiatrist said the trauma, abuse, neglect and deprivation the young Indigenous man had experienced was so extreme the damage was done by the time he was just two.

His lawyer Tim Marsh said the sentence was stern and his prospects for rehabilitation weren’t extinguished, meaning it’s impossible to say if he’ll always be a danger to the community.

-AAP



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