The father of Courtney Herron, a Melbourne woman beaten to death in a park by a schizophrenic killer, is suing the state of Victoria over the horrific murder in May 2019.
In a writ filed last week with the Supreme Court of Victoria, John Herron alleged his daughter’s killer, Henry Hammond, was on a community corrections order at the time of the death for another offence, when he should have been behind bars.
Hammond was found not guilty of murder due to mental illness.
Mr Herron, 60, is seeking a payout because of the injury and loss he suffered through his daughter’s murder at the age of 25, including chronic post traumatic stress disorder.
He said the justice system had been “negligent” in allowing Hammond to be on a community corrections order, which allows a person guilty of crime to live in the community with conditions, including that they are supervised.
“No reasonable corrections officer could have concluded that a community corrections order was suitable,” his statement of claim said.
Henry Hammond was found not guilty of murder by way of mental impairment because of the severe schizophrenic delusion he was suffering when he fatally bashed Ms Herron, 25, with a stick about 4.30am on May 25, 2019.
He told investigators he believed Ms Herron had buried his wife alive in a past life and was taking revenge.
He was committed to a psychiatric hospital instead of jail.
Mr Herron alleges Hammond did not undergo psychiatric evaluation before being found suitable for a CCO and was not supervised for his drug use and mental health while in the community.
“Supervisors were not able to contact Hammond because a) he had no fixed residential address; and b) had no reliable contact details or any means of communication,” he alleged.
Corrections Victoria knew Hammond was living in a van and struggling with substance abuse issues when it found him suitable for a CCO, Mr Herron said.
He alleges if Corrections Victoria had done its job, then “Hammond would not have been released to the community at all, or Hammond would have been returned to prison prior to the murder”.
Hammond had been sentenced to ten months in prison for making threats to kill, and other offences in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on December 17, 2018 the statement of claim says.
But he successfully appealed and was given a CCO instead in the County Court.
Judge John Carmody changed Hammond’s prison sentence to a CCO on April 1, 2019 – less than two months before he killed Ms Herron, it says.