WARNING - Disturbing content

Aiia Maasarwe used her last words to curse at her attacker before she was raped and murdered, a court has heard.

The 21-year-old international student was attacked after disembarking a Melbourne tram at Bundoora in the early hours of January 16 this year.

She was less than a kilometre from the student accommodation she lived in at La Trobe University, news.com.au reported.

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Her killer, Codey Herrmann, 21, had been loitering around a nearby shopping centre before he attacked her with a metal pole, raped her and dragged her body behind bushes.

He pleaded guilty to rape and murder in June this year.

During a plea hearing at the Victorian Supreme Court today, Prosecutor Pat Bourke read through graphic details of the attack and showed CCTV footage of the victim's last moments.

The court heard Ms Maasarwe called her sister Ruba just seconds before Herrmann struck. She told her, "I didn't expect you to pick up".

As she was attacked, she screamed in Arabic, "You piece of sh*t," Mr Bourke said.

"Her sister heard the sound of something or someone being hit four times."

Prosecutors said the phone call "remained open" and her sister became concerned when Ms Maasarwe did not respond.

Family members made several unsuccessful attempts to contact her by text message before Ms Maasarwe's body was discovered after 6am the following morning.

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When Ms Maasarwe's body was found, she had significant head injuries and burns to parts of her body.

The court was shown several photographs from the crime scene, including Ms Maasarwe's shoes and drag marks.

The court also heard that Herrmann had been to Ms Maasarwe's accommodation before but that the pair did not know each other.

Codey Herrmann has pleaded guilty to the murder of Aiia Maasarwe. Photo / News Corp Australia
Codey Herrmann has pleaded guilty to the murder of Aiia Maasarwe. Photo / News Corp Australia

In September last year, he had attended the apartment building and falsely claimed to have lost his own key. He returned several days later and was seen standing on the grass outside the building.

On January 14, two days before he murdered Ms Maasarwe, Herrmann told a friend he was having vivid waking dreams.

"Bro, I just had like five psychoses," Herrmann said. "I saw a murder in my head."

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Herrmann, dressed in a black and white Adidas tracksuit, sat hunched in the dock at the back of the courtroom during this morning's proceedings. He formally pleaded guilty again to the rape and murder.

Ms Maasarwe had only been in Melbourne for a short time before she was attacked. She was studying English and had been at a comedy lounge with friends on the night she was murdered.

AIIA'S FAMILY'S HEARTBREAK REVEALED

Four members of Ms Maasarwe's family had victim impact statements read out in court today.

Her sister Ruba said she "never realised how much I look up to Aiia until I lost her".

"I can't imagine the horror she felt when she saw Codey Herrmann's face," Ruba told the court through her statement.

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"Codey Herrmann, you have taken one life but you have broken many more hearts."

Ms Maasarwe's mother Kittam said her killer had "destroyed a beautiful girl".

"When I speak about Aiia, I am overwhelmed by sadness," she said.

"You cannot imagine what happened to me after her death. She was my daughter and friend. I was in touch with her everyday. She used to tell me always, I miss you so much mum. When I see you again I will hug you and kiss you."

Ms Maasarwe's other sister Noor said the victim was the best person she knew.

"She was always smiling and full of energy. As Mother Teresa once said, 'Some people come into our life as blessings and some people come into our life as lessons.' Aiia just happened to be both.

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Herrmann's lawyer Tim Marsh is expected to use the rest of the afternoon to make a case for why his client should receive some leniency.

He told the court he has "no explanation" for Herrmann's actions but he plans to raise "Mr Herrmann's aboriginality", his "prospects of rehabilitation" and his "misdirected rage".

"I want to humanise him," Mr Marsh said.