A vague photo from the childhood of Courtney Herron shows a little girl with eyes that shine as brightly as her broad grin.
It is an image that is hard to reconcile with the cruelty of her death.
But Courtney & # 39; s life story is complicated.
A cheerful and smiling Courtney Herron before the weight of the world crushed her soft mind. She fought hard to get her life back on track, but in the end it was so violently extinguished in a cold park in Melbourne.
Courtney Herron and her beloved grandfather. She had been close to him until just before his death. Even then, Courtney would run to her grandmother in times of need
A beautiful child with the world at her feet, she would be consumed as an adult by his cruelty and spit out.
Ultimately, a life would be defined by personal demons, drug addiction and, ultimately, unspeakable violence.
Courtney was born on March 3, 1994 in loving parents John and Maxie in Melbourne.
& # 39; A DAMAGED LITTLE BIRD & # 39;
Life was different then. Hey Hello. It was Saturday was still in bloom on Australian TV screens and you could run on the floor after the siren at an AFL Footy game.
But like many before and after them, Courtney's parents fell out of love for each other.
They divorced when she was only three and her little world fell around it.
Her mother told me The age she was like a & # 39; damaged little bird & # 39 ;.
Courtney never really got over her broken family and life only seemed to get harder as the years went on.
She did not benefit from the stability of a regular family and was moved from school to school during her training years.
She spent time at Lowther Hall's Anglican Grammar School in Essendon, Lauriston Girls & School in Armadale and then Genazzano in Kew.
Children can be cruel and bullies had made her life so much harder.
Courtney was already suffering from depression, anxiety and attachment problems during her teenage years.
Less than two months after she turned 18, she was stabbed because she was riding a train without a ticket – a trivial matter that somehow ended up in court.
Courtney was sentenced and fined $ 180.
She was still in school and had a year to pay it off.
But in November of that year, undoubtedly enjoying the end of what had become a difficult routine because of high school, she was caught with a few ecstasy pills.
A young Courtney Herron (right) frolic in the trees with her friend Kalinda Brown (left). Courtney had struggled with bullies at school, but had made a few lifelong friends
Courtney Herron and her little sister enjoy the sun on St Kilda during one of the many market days in the area. Courtney would have liked to take selfies with her and together they made a scrapbook. Courtney's body was found about 16 km from where she was posing for this photo
The magistrate slapped her knuckles and gave her a chance to escape the conviction of a six-month diversion plan.
According to the plan, which usually lasts for a year, offenders do not have to take formal pleadings and no criminal convictions are registered under their name.
Her mother said it was a kick in the pants that her daughter needed.
& # 39; In year 12, she was free to fall. Then this diversion case came in and changed her life. It showed who she was: a skilled, smart, loving girl in a working environment, & Maxie said.
On the program she got some work with the Ministry of Health and Human Services Victoria, which embraced Courtney.
She hoped that this would lead to a full-time job, but something went wrong.
Courtney's mother claimed that the blemish on her criminal record was to blame for her failure to find work there.
The diversion was discharged just over a month before it ended at the Heidelburg Magistrates & Court.
High profile criminal lawyer George Balot said that a distraction & # 39; the most gracious outcome & # 39; was that magistrates have access to dealing with accused accused of low-threshold crimes.
& # 39; A recurring problem with a redirection order is that while the redirection is pending, the accused has not yet been fired, and thus was an employer to obtain a criminal record check during the redirection period, he will reveal that the costs are pending, & # 39; he said. & # 39; It is often wise not to conduct a criminal record check during the diversion program. & # 39;
It was too late for Courtney.
The checks were carried out, the job was lost, and she got a taste of a legal system that unfortunately would be known.
FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS
The story of the teenager until then was like many passing through the doors of the Melbourne criminal courts.
Judges, lawyers and even reporters have processed countless Courtney Herrons through the revolving door justice system of Victoria.
Good children from good families who use drugs for some reason and introduce a legal system that is bundled by Victoria & # 39; s hands with an inadequate system for mental health, well-being and housing.
Sometimes they die.
Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, has been accused of murdering Courtney.
A fresh-faced Courtney Herron – red bow in her and ready to conquer the world. She had her ups and downs during her short life and was determined to make something of herself
An image of Courtney Herron broadcast by Victoria Police after her body was brutally beaten to death in a park just outside of Melbourne & # 39; s CBD. Her last years on earth had not been friendly and her end was even worse
That original setback at school had sent Courtney on a collision course with a disaster, her mother said.
& # 39; That was a huge knock, & # 39; she said. & # 39; The people she worked with said, "Don't give up, you're so capable". She loved it, and she wanted to do community work and a diploma in housing, but then the demon friends came in. & # 39;
Those demon friends saw Courtney in the grip of the scourge of methylamphetamine – the deadly drug ice.
In the following years, she got lost in the seedy underbelly of Melbourne, lived with friends and used drugs.
Her mother would call her daughter's friends and drag Facebook to signs of life, but it's hard to find someone who doesn't want to be found.
& # 39; When we knew she was in a psychosis, I would beg dealers. I said, "I don't care, I'm not interested in your dobbing." I would say "Tell me what kind of street" and would pick her up. I just wanted to help her, & Maxie said.
Intervention orders were drawn up by Maxie's & # 39; s own account, which limited what she could at least do for her daughter in difficulty.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Then, in 2015, Courtney met Ahmet Ozkurt and he fell madly in love.
Under his care, Courtney began to clean up, but before they had the chance to get married, the Kurdish refugee from Turkey was taken to a detention center after complications with his visa.
Courtney was shattered again and accused himself of missing the appointment for his visa renewal.
She made it her mission to save him, but it was one that drove her further into the pit of despair and back into the lair of medicine.
Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, has been accused of murdering Courtney. Much is known about its history, but cannot be reported for legal reasons
Courtney was down by 2017.
On the day of her 23rd birthday she was jumping shoplifting and arrested.
Less than two weeks later, the quieter driver was caught driving an unregistered vehicle, without L plates, and allegedly in possession of stolen goods.
It is likely that she spent time in the cells of the police cells before they were released.
The property allowance was eventually rejected and on July 23 last year she was released again based on good behavior, without conviction.
She was instructed to receive & # 39; treatment & # 39; until December 19 of that year. and seemed to comply with the order – at least to the satisfaction of the court.
HER LAST DAYS
The last time her family had contact with Courtney was on Greek Easter – April 28 – this year, when her grandmother visited her at the Austin hospital.
Courtney had previously fled her grandmother's house in the middle of the night and had broken communication with her mother.
People claimed that they had seen Courtney sleeping in an alley known to be held by territorial homeless men.
She had reportedly been at a party with the man accused of killing her the night she died.
Courtney's grandmother was seen this week over the spot where her precious granddaughter would be beaten to death.
It was a harrowing vision for everyone who witnessed it.
Courtney & # 39; s father, a lawyer, has largely remained silent about his role in his daughter's life.
& # 39; It's just very difficult. I can barely talk about it, & he told Daily Mail Australia.
THE BETTER STREETS
In an interview with The Project, Courtney & # 39; s friend Jessica Bateman said that she & # 39; was very worried & # 39; had made something terrible happen to her.
"She was a bank surfer, and when she couldn't find a devil to surf on, she spent nights in parks – the park in which she was discovered", said Bateman.
& # 39; She knew her family loved her, but she had no contact with them. It was very, if you want, sporadically. & # 39;
Mrs. Bateman knew Courtney was using drugs, but the thought of dropping them frightened her friend.
& # 39; She was trying to get into public housing, trying to invade methadone or something that would stop the withdrawal symptoms she was experiencing – and the fear of withdrawal is what really used her, & # 39; she said.
While the guilt of the man accused of killing Courtney will take place in court, many believe they already know what really killed her.
They threw their hands in the air and seemed to ask God to answer, the 25-year-old family came to Royal Park on Monday
A lonely place to die: the body of Courtney Herron was found bloody and beaten between these tree trunks. It is a lonely and cold place off the beaten track. Courtney & # 39; s life had been tough and her end was anything but happy
A BROKEN SYSTEM
The ignorant have stated that it is her own fault for the use of drugs.
But a more complex truth lies at the heart of this tragedy – one that many believe will not be resolved before another generation is at the helm of those who control society.
Donna Stolzenberg, from the National Homeless Collective, said the reality of life was grim for people like Courtney.
& # 39; The system is so broken and it does not help people with drug problems. We do not have enough housing stock for people. There are people on waiting lists for years and years and years, & she said.
& # 39; Transitional housing is intended for 12 months, but we cannot move people forward because it has bottlenecks and there is no housing stock to move them … People do not get help for drugs, they do not get housing and it is nobody's issue.
& # 39; Nobody takes ownership of it. The local government will tell you that it is state government and they will say that it is the federal government's problem. Everyone succeeds, because the result is not on their watch. & # 39;
Mrs Stolzenberg said in the two major parties in the last federal election, there was no homelessness policy.
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