Monday May 27
A 27 year-old man has been charged with the murder of Courtney Herron, who was a victim of a “horrendous bashing” before her body was found in a Melbourne park, police say.
The 25-year-old was found dead by dog walkers near a pile of logs in Royal Park, in Parkville at about 9:25am on Saturday.
The man was arrested by detectives from the homicide squad on Sunday and was charged with one count of murder overnight. He is set to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later today.
Police believe Ms Herron, who was homeless, was attacked in the park on Friday night or Saturday morning.
They weren’t clear on whether a weapon was used and there was no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted.
Detective Inspector, Andrew Stamper said Ms Herron had experienced issues with drugs and mental illness and had been couch surfing.
He said it was not clear whether she had been sleeping in the park.
Herron was last seen on May 14 in St Albans, in Melbourne’s west when she had contact with police.
Ms Herron had lived a “fairly transient lifestyle” and only had “sporadic” contact with her family, Inspect Stamper said.
“Family relationships can be fragmented, but I stress that doesn’t mean families out there don’t love their children,” he said on Sunday.
“We’re dealing with a heartbroken family here.”
Patrols have been increased by police in the park with members of the public leaving floral tributes at the spot where Ms Herron was found.
One note said, “You deserved so much better. May you rest in everlasting peace.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called Ms Herron’s death a “terrible, terrible tragedy” and said the Government would make any changes that Victoria Police suggest to improve public safety.
There are fears that national parks in NSW are being damaged by a revenue-making tree planting scheme, after revegetation works were carried out in the Capertee National Park.
Three hours west of Sydney, Capertee National park was a working cattle property until 2010 when it was purchased by the State Government and was turned into a protected area.
Because of overgrazing, the National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ordered habitat restoration works there.
The project was carried out by a company called CO2 Australia, which used heavy machinery to plough terraces into hilly landscape and planted native trees closely together.
However, Ecologist Deb Stenensons, is worried about the outcome that the project may cause.
“The trees are too close together,” she said.
“They haven’t planted much understory and basically it’s going to end up looking like a plantation, a forest plantation.”
The NPWS has said the program was the first of its kind for a conservation agency in Australia and that it was proving to be highly successful.
Concerns about over planting were addressed by CO2 Australia in the project’s design, which allowed for some trees to naturally die-off.
The Capertee National Park is one of the few places in Australia where the critically endangered regent honeyeater breeds, adding major concerns about the planting scheme.
“This park supports a great array of threatened woodland animals and plants,” ecologist Debbie Andrew said.
“The densities of the trees being put into the ground – 800 trees per hectare – is far in excess of what the CSIRO recommends of 30 mature trees per hectare.”
NPWS said the environmental plantings would benefit biodiversity conservation in NSW and the planting covered only 2 per cent of the park.
It said the habitat and foraging needs of the regent honeyeater were carefully considered in the planting design.
Labour has narrowly avoided further eroding its dwindling number of Queensland seats after claiming victory in Lilley, which was formerly held by retiring MP Wayne Swan.
Labor’s first-time candidate Anika Wells waved at drivers on Sandgate Road this morning, to thank voters for their support which helped her narrowly win the seat on Brisbane’s north.
“We didn’t take this for granted for a single hour, and it turns out every single hour mattered” she said.
The Australian Electoral Commission is yet to officially declare the Labor victory, with the ABC’s election computer classifying the seat as an “ALP retain” on the weekend.
With 86 per cent of the seat counted, Ms Wells is ahead of the Liberal National Party’s, Brad Carswell by 901 votes, two party preferred.
With a result that close would reduce the seat’s margin from 5.7 per cent to about 1 per cent.
“We’re looking at the same numbers as Antony Green..so that gave us confidence in our numbers,” Ms Wells said.
“We’ve treated this like a marginal seat for the 13 months that I’ve been the endorsed candidate.”
Wells said that while she focused on a grassroots, local campaign, the LNP’s landslide victory in Queensland was concerning.
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