Accused killer’s eerie link to murder victim

The staff at Lentil As Anything in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury, where Ms Dixon volunteered, were especially heartbroken about the 22-year-old’s brutal death, paying tribute to her “warm smile and terrible handwriting”.

Eurydice had been volunteering at the socially conscious cafe for five months before she was attacked and murdered as she walked through Princes Park in the early hours of June 13 last year.

Her fellow volunteers realised something was seriously wrong when Eurydice failed to show up for her shift on June 19.

Cafe manager Dayle Jones told Eurydice was one of her “star volunteers”, and the cafe added a plaque to Eurydice’s favourite table to pay tribute to the 22-year-old last year.

But as the cafe prepares to mark a year since it lost Eurydice, it has been hit with more heartbreak as another of their volunteers Henry Hammond is accused of murdering a woman in similar circumstances.

Mr Hammond, 27, fronted court yesterday, accused bashing to death homeless woman Courtney Herron, 25, after the pair were seen together at a party on Friday night.

In a measured post on social media today, the Thornbury cafe addressed its two former volunteers and the link between them.

“We remember Eurydice Dixon, a treasured volunteer and trainee barista with us, until the morning she didn’t arrive for her cafe shift,” it said.

“Sadly, we find ourselves at this juncture again, almost a year later, in this epidemic of violence against women.”

Courtney Herron was found dead in Royal Park in Parkville last week.Source:Supplied

Ms Jones started managing the cafe in January last year, six months before Eurydice’s murder.

She also knew Mr Hammond well and encouraged him to volunteer at the cafe, as they do with regular patrons to give them a purpose or teach them a skill.

“We get a lot of long-term homeless people coming in and Henry was one of them,” Ms Jones said.

“He immediately presented with really tough mental health problems.

“I spent many an hour with him in the carpark and let him talk at me rather than with me.”

Ms Jones said she was forced to ban Mr Hammond from the cafe about halfway through last year after he “took a turn for the worse” and became “aggressive and violent”.

The last contact Ms Jones had with Mr Hammond was mid-way through last year, when she was calling a mobile psych unit to have him committed to a hospital ward where he could get help for his ailing mental health.

Henry Hammond’s mental health spiralled in the past year. Picture: Facebook

Henry Hammond’s mental health spiralled in the past year. Picture: FacebookSource:AAP

A few days later, the service told Ms Jones it was trying to get him into accommodation.

“There’s only so much we can do,” Ms Jones said. “We’re not qualified mental health practitioners here. He had some very obvious mental health delusions and we can feed and shelter people in need but when they became aggressive and violent, I won’t tolerate it.”

In the Facebook post, the cafe said it was “trying to come to terms” with Mr Hammond’s alleged crime and said it had tried hard to help the 27-year-old.

“Some volunteers and crew will remember Henry, and the increasing decline of his mental health during the past year or so,” the cafe said.

“We know that we did all we could to support him, but we are not mental health practitioners.

As his health declined, we informed the police several times and involved mobile mental health services to pick him up for care.

“However, Henry obviously could not bring himself out of the dark spiral he was in, and the repercussions have been huge.”

Henry Hammond at Lentil As Anything Thornbury in October 2016. Picture: Facebook

Henry Hammond at Lentil As Anything Thornbury in October 2016. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied

Lentil As Anything said it mourned Ms Herron and encouraged people to ask one another, “are you OK?”.

Lentil As Anything volunteer Luan Cartwright, who knew both Ms Dixon and Mr Hammond told The Herald Sunhe had seen the accused killer struggling.

“I watched the decline in his (Mr Hammond’s) health,” she said.

Hannah Moon, another volunteer at the Thornbury cafe, said she regularly sees “deeply unwell people feel comfortable at Lentils”.

But “we’ve been understaffed, under skilled and underfunded to deal with such acute mental health in these individuals,” she added.

Mr Hammond didn’t just volunteer and eat at Lentil As Anything, he also lived in the carpark next door in a red van after he moved to Melbourne a few years ago, a regular visitor to the Thornbury cafe confirmed.

The carpark next to Lentil As Anything at Thorburn where Mr Hammond lived. Picture: Google Maps

The carpark next to Lentil As Anything at Thorburn where Mr Hammond lived. Picture: Google MapsSource:Supplied

Lentil As Anything said it called psychiatric support services for Mr Hammond last year and tried to help him through his mental health problems “but realised it was beyond us”.

Another volunteer at the Thornbury cafe claimed Mr Hammond was banned from Lentil As Anything in October 2017.

The next the cafe heard of Mr Hammond was when they saw he had been arrested for Ms Herron’s murder.

Mr Hammond was arrested by police on Sunday on Bourke St and charged with the “horrendous bashing” described by Victoria Police over the weekend.

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.


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