A city and a family mourn Courtney Herron: ‘Take care … it could be anybody’

Rain poured as hundreds gathered in Royal Park to mourn the loss of 25-year-old Courtney Herron (Photo: Helena Abdou)

Days after the body of Courtney Herron was found, hundreds gathered at a vigil. Fatima Halloum, Helena Abdou and Lachlan Keller were there.

It was a moving memorial – and quiet protest – in the dark and the rain at Melbourne’s Royal Park, where Courtney Herron’s body was found last Saturday.

The crowd braved the harsh weather to pay tribute and condemn her “senseless murder”.

Among them were Courtney’s mother, Maxie, and her brother, who looked on in tears as mourners placed flowers and candles at a shrine showcasing a smiling photo of the 25-year-old and heartfelt handwritten messages.

“Take care of yourself,” Courtney’s mother told a female bystander who stopped to embrace her.

“It could be anybody.”

Hundreds gathered in Royal Park to remember Courtney Herron. (Photo: Helena Abdou)

Described by her mother as a “believing”, “trusting”, and “loving” daughter, Courtney had struggled with drug and mental health issues.

Her body was found a week ago, on May 24, having died in what police have described as a “horrendous bashing”.

At the vigil on Friday night, Courtney’s brother told Victoria’s minister for crime prevention Ben Carroll: “We need to do more to protect women’s safety.”

The vigil drew supporters from different ages, races and backgrounds.

Among the crowd were men supporting the public protest, and urging action.

“It’s a horrible situation. It’s obviously an extremely sober mood,” said 29 year-old Andy.

“From a male point of view we’ve got a responsibility to be the ones that lead change against what is an epidemic.”

Courtney Herron is the 20th woman to be killed in Australia this year (Photo: Helena Abdou)

According to Destroy The Joint, a group campaigning for gender equality, Courtney was the 21st woman to die from male-perpetuated violence since January, and her vigil marked the 20th such gathering to occur in the space of a year.

A similar protest was held just a month ago in honour of Natalina Angok, whose body was found in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

After the discovery of Courtney’s body, Victoria Police assistant commissioner Luke Cornelius said: “Violence against women is absolutely about men’s behaviour. It’s not about women’s behaviour. Women in our community can and should expect that men get that.”

Henry Hammond, 27, has been charged with Courtney’s murder.

She will be buried on Monday.