From private schoolboy to alleged killer

A private-school educated musician who grew up in one of Sydney's most affluent areas appeared to have everything going for him.

He was engaged to be married and was the father of a young child. In pictures posted to three separate Facebook accounts, Henry Hammond, looked content.

In one post, he was pictured kissing his partner and holding his child with the caption: "Another of the beautiful family."

In another photo, the accused killer of Courtney Herron, whose brutally bashed body was found in a Melbourne park, was sleeping peacefully with the child on his chest in another post captioned simply: "Cuddles."

His friends and family celebrated his joy. A family member wrote that the pictures were "gorgeous" and a friend said she was "happy to see you so happy".

But one of the accounts stopped posting the loved-up photos in late 2017, around the time the 27-year-old left for a new start in Melbourne.

On a second account, Mr Hammond posted blurry photographs of himself as recently as two weeks ago.

Henry Hammond is accused of killing Courtney Herron in Melbourne.
Henry Hammond is accused of killing Courtney Herron in Melbourne.

 

The 27-year-old appeared happy in photographs from 2016.
The 27-year-old appeared happy in photographs from 2016.

 

Mr Hammond was photographed with a young child believed to be his own.
Mr Hammond was photographed with a young child believed to be his own.

The clean-cut Mr Hammond from 2016 appeared on a third account earlier this year sporting a long, thick beard and smoking.

Friends say he was in the midst of a spiral and that his old life had been left behind. One friend told The Age that "something happened" in the summer of 2017 that led him to become "psychologically dislodged".

"Apparently at one point he thought he was Jesus," she told the newspaper.

The Herald Su n reports Mr Hammond told people he was "Odin, a mythological Norse god".

He shared a YouTube video about the Norse goddess of marriage, love and destiny.

Mr Hammond previously lived in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and on the city's northern beaches where he attended private high school Oxford Falls Grammar. After moving to Melbourne, he volunteered at a vegetarian social enterprise and started living in a van.

On Sunday, he was arrested by police on Bourke Street in the Melbourne CBD and charged with a murder that shocked the nation.

Mr Hammond is accused of bashing to death homeless woman Courtney Herron, 25, after the pair were seen together at a party on Friday night.

Mr Hammond earlier this year.
Mr Hammond earlier this year.

Ms Herron's body was found in a park she was known to frequent at Parkville, not far from the city. She had been killed and left in the dirt near a group of logs.

In court on Monday, Mr Hammond appeared dishevelled. He was not wearing shoes and had a black eye. He looked around the courtroom at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court and smiled.

The court heard Mr Hammond has a mental illness and ADHD. His lawyer said he suffers from "possible delusional disorder" and "possible autism spectrum disorder".

Police tracked Mr Hammond down after Ms Herron's friends reportedly told investigators the pair were seen leaving the party together.

They eventually located the 27-year-old but initially found it difficult because he has no phone or credit cards.

He is in custody today and will remain there until his next appearance in court on September 16. He nodded when a judge asked if he understood what was happening.

As Ms Herron's family grieves, the young woman's friends have opened up about her drug addiction and her efforts to get clean.

Courtney Herron was found in a park at Parkville on Saturday morning.
Courtney Herron was found in a park at Parkville on Saturday morning.

 

The 25-year-old struggled with drug addiction, according to friends.
The 25-year-old struggled with drug addiction, according to friends.

Her ex-boyfriend, Terrick Norris, told The New Daily she would "turn up at my door around once a month".

"She was never living on the streets, she was always couch surfing," Mr Norris said.

"I let her stay at mine a bunch of times and so did her mother. But she was addicted to drugs and sometimes it got a bit too much."

Her friend Jessica Bateman told The Project she was "shocked" and "saddened" by the news of Ms Herron's death.

She said the system failed her friend.

"She was trying to get into public housing, she was trying to get onto methadone or something that would stop the withdrawal symptoms that she was going to face - and the fear of withdrawal is what really kept her using," Ms Bateman said.

"She couldn't even get public housing … Women are more vulnerable than men being homeless. Men can attack them, can take advantage of them, especially when it concerns mental illness and drugs.

"Those two things … it leads to jails, institutions, homelessness and death."

A vigil has been organised for Ms Herron at Royal Park in Parkville from 5-7pm on Friday. Members of the public are urged to attend to pay respects to a young woman's life that was tragically cut short.

One of the message left at a makeshift memorial for Courtney Herron whose body was found in Melbourne’s Royal Park on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Picture: David Crosling/AAP
One of the message left at a makeshift memorial for Courtney Herron whose body was found in Melbourne’s Royal Park on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Picture: David Crosling/AAP

 

Mr Hammond in 2016.
Mr Hammond in 2016.
Mr Hammond’s social media profiles seemed to show a contented man.
Mr Hammond’s social media profiles seemed to show a contented man.


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