SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced a 20-year-old man to at least 30 years in prison for rape and murder of international student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne this year.
Maasarwe, 21, was killed when walking home after a night out with friends in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, in January.
Cody Herrmann, 20, admitted to beating her with a metal pole, sexually assaulting her and setting her on fire.
“Women should be free to walk the streets alone without fear of being violently attacked by a stranger,” Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said on Tuesday as she sentenced Herrmann to the maximum 36-year prison term.
He must serve 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Maasarwe was an Israeli exchange student whose death sparked a protest march in major cities across Australia calling for safety for women.
Maasarwe’s father, Saeed, traveled to Australia for the sentencing, and outside the court held back tears as he told reporters he would remember Aiia as a happy and helpful person.
“She looked at the people, doesn’t matter which religion which nation, which color,” he said after the sentencing. “This was Aiia. She liked all the people, all the humans. This is (how) I want to remember Aiia.”
Reporting by Swati Pandey. Editing by Gerry Doyle