An Australian man has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of an Israeli Arab student, The Guardian reported on Friday.
While appearing via videolink in the Melbourne magistrates’ court, 20-year-old Codey Hermann said “I plead guilty" to the charges of Aiia Maasarwe's rape and murder in January, according to The Guardian.
The 21-year-old victim had been studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne for the past five months as an exchange student from Shanghai University in China.
She was on her way home from a Melbourne comedy club and was speaking to her younger sister in Israel on FaceTime when she was attacked shortly after stepping from a tram in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora.
Maasarwe, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was laid to rest in her home town of Baka al-Gharbiyye, north of Tel Aviv.
Herrmann, an aspiring rapper who was homeless at the time he committed the crime, was arrested two days after Maasarwe's body was found in the bushes. The police also found a cap and a shirt at the scene of the crime.
The matter will be listed for directions in Australia's Supreme Court next Wednesday, The Guardian said.
- Australian man charged with rape and murder of Israeli student
- 20-year-old man arrested over murder of Israeli exchange student in Melbourne
Maasarwe's father, Said, confirmed to Haaretz that Herrmann pled guilty to the rape and murder charges.
Said said Hermann "was looking for random prey before doing what he did. He wasn't after Aiia for personal reasons, but for a random victim and unfortunately stumbled upon my daughter and caused this tragedy."
He added that Hermann's arrest and confession are a relief for him and his family. "Nothing will bring back my daughter and the pain for her loss will accompany us all of our lives, but at least I know that Aiia's despicable killer is behind bars and that he will never hurt any other woman.
"I intend to keep track of him after he stands trial because it is important that he rots in prison and gets the maximum punishment for the crime he committed," he said.