Murder of Israeli student: police obtain CCTV footage in hunt for Aiia Maasarwe killer

By: Mark Schliebs

The Australian

18 January 2019

Aiia Maasarwe was murdered on her way home. Picture: Instagram.

Detectives now have CCTV footage from the tram Aiia Maasarwe travelled on before she was killed outside a shopping centre in Melbourne’s north, Victoria’s public transport chief has confirmed.

This came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the killing of the 21-year-old Israeli student as “the most despicable of crimes.

Public Transport Victoria Jeroen Weimar told 3AW this morning that footage had been provided to detectives hunting Ms Maasarwe’s killer, who attacked her when she was on her way home from a night at a comedy club early on Wednesday morning.

There was certainly footage … on that particular tram Aiia was travelling on,” Mr Weimar said. “That’s been provided to Victoria Police.

“What’s on that footage and what other images they’ve obtained from that, obviously I can’t comment on that. But I can confirm that CCTV files and images have been provided from the tram and from the other trams that Victoria Police are working on.”

He said “about a third of trams are fitted with CCTV” across Melbourne.

PM speaks out on ‘despicable’ crime

In Fiji, Mr Morrison sent his condolences to Ms Maasarwe’s family.

“On behalf of myself and Jenny and my family to her family, (we) just pray you can find whatever comfort you can in the worst of all circumstances,” he said.

He said Ms Maasarwe’s murder was the “most despicable of crimes” and Australians must remain vigilant as Victoria Police continue the hunt for her killer.

“Every woman in Australia, every person in Australia, should be able to travel home safely,” the Prime Minister said in Fiji today.

“I can’t begin to think what I could say to her family. I know what I’m thinking about her attacker.”

“I know the police will do their job and they’ll deal with it. But the rest of the country has to wake up today and deal with the most despicable of crimes.”

Mr Morrison said stopping violence against women was a “top priority” for the government.

“We must be forever vigilant and that’s why I’m so sickened by the attack,” he said.

People leave floral tributes near where Aiia Maasarwe’s body was found Picture: AAP

“We have put in $350m for programs to address domestic violence across Australia. There will be a fourth action plan that will be announced in between now and the next election.

“It’s a top priority order issue for our government and should be … (we must) redouble our efforts on every occasion. It’s just so shocking. I’m speechless.”

Melburnians will attend a vigil at the Victorian parliament later tonight as they cope with yet another horrific random murder of a young woman in the city.

Ms Maasarwe’s body was found on Wednesday morning about 50m from the 86 tram stop, where she got off after a night out and started the 1km walk to her lodgings near La Trobe University in Bundoora.

Police are investigating whether she was followed, much like ­Eurydice Dixon, a young Melbourne comedian who performed in a city comedy club and was followed home and killed.

Ms Maasarwe was speaking to her sister in Israel when she was attacked, with her sibling hearing her cry out and drop the phone.

‘This is not the Melbourne I grew up in’

Bill Shorten wants to reassure international students and their families that Melbourne was safe, and that Victoria Police would catch and punish the killer of Aiia Maasarwe.

The Opposition Leader has joined Scott Morrison in voicing his shock over the murder of Ms Maasarwe, with the Prime Minister calling it the “most despicable of crimes.” He has also called out a Victorian senator who tweeted out gruesome details of her death.

“I’ve got teenage children who, you know, use public transport in Melbourne. This is not the Australia or the Melbourne that I grew up in. It is shocking,” Mr Shorten said.

“I want to say to parents whose young people come to Australia, this is shocking but this is not Australia. So, my feelings for the grief of this family, just very strong.

“I want to reassure them that our police are amongst the best in the world. They will successfully catch, and our legal system will punish, the wrongdoer.”

Mr Shorten criticised Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch, who published information from police sources about the murder that they have not wanted to reveal officially.

“I do think that people who are in positions of power and influence shouldn’t put out information automatically when the police have got a different strategy to catch and convict the wrongdoers,” he said.

“I don’t want to give what Senator Hinch has done any more oxygen than that”

Senator Hinch took to Twitter this morning to defend his tweet: “To all the do-gooder Tweeters attacking me for telling the gruesome truth about the Bundoora rape/ murder. This brute is still out there. My tweet was for the memory of Jill Meagher and Eurydice Dixon.”

Official statement of the Embassy of Israel concerning the death of Israeli citizen, Aiia Maasarwe