Melbourne man Codey Herrmann has been sentenced to 36 years in jail for the rape and murder of 21-year-old Palestinian student Aiia Maasarwe.

Herrmann, 20, pleaded guilty to the charges in June of this year. The prosecution called for a sentence of life in prison, similar to the sentences of Eurydice Dixon’s and Jill Meagher’s killers.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth handed down the sentence of 36 years, with a minimum parole period of 30 years, at the Supreme Court of Victoria this afternoon. Aiia Maasarwe’s sister Noor and father Saeed were in attendance.

Justice Hollingworth said during sentencing:

Not only did you take her precious right to life but you deprived her family of a daughter and a sister.

Her death left an enormous hole in their lives…Why did you do these appalling things?

Herrmann had written a letter of apology to Aiia’s family, saying: “I truly apologise. I will pray for you and your family every day. Don’t give in to the hate like I did.” 

Maasarwe was on a one-year student exchange at La Trobe University in Melbourne when she was murdered. She had been in Australia just five months.

She was attacked at a tram stop at Bundoora in Melbourne’s north, while on the way home from a night out at a comedy club on January 16 this year. Her death directly led to the introduction of increased safety measures in the area, after calls from local residents for the government to spend more time and money on protecting young women. 

Image: Getty Images / Ellen Smith