Karl Stefanovic said he ‘feels sick’ about the prospect of a killer walking free a little over a year after he was sent to a psychiatric hospital.
Daily Mail Australia revealed on Wednesday that doctors at Melbourne‘s Thomas Embling Hospital doctors want to let Henry Hammond out on supervised day leave, three years after he bashed Melbourne woman Courtney Herron, 25, to death in May 2019.
Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, attacked Ms Herron so savagely that a mortician could not put her broken body back together.
In March 2020, Supreme Court of Victoria Justice Phillip Priest told Hammond he would be moved from Port Phillip Prison to Thomas Embling Hospital for what ‘could’ be the next 25 years.
Justice Priest further told the community Hammond would not be reviewed for early release for at least 24 months.
Hammond was found not guilty of her murder because of mental impairment.
But he could be released on day trips soon.
‘Can I tell you I don’t want to see his face, it makes me sick,’ Stefanovic said during an interview on Wednesday with Ms Herron’s father and criminal lawyer John Herron.
‘I am shocked this could take place and if it was my child I don’t know what I would do.’
Courtney Herron was killed by Henry Hammond, who was found not guilty on grounds of mental impairment and sent to Thomas Embling Hospital for what ‘could’ be the next 25 years
Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, bashed Courtney so savagely in May 2019 that the mortician could not put her broken body back together
John Herron clutches a photo of his precious daughter Courtney. He is furious Hammond could soon be out of hospital on supervised day trips
Hammond was brutally bashed by another patient inside Thomas Embling just before Christmas last year.
A well-placed source said the savage beating left Hammond in hospital, which in turn saw him transferred to Thomas Embling’s ‘transition unit’ on return.
The unit facilitates patients’ day releases and prepares them for imminent release.
It is understood Hammond impressed staff within the unit, which has led to hospital chiefs softening its stance on releasing him temporarily back into the community with a view to setting him free altogether.
Mr Herron told the Today Show he ‘wasn’t surprised’ by the failings of the justice system.
‘They call it, the Andrews government, restorative justice, what that really means is processing these killers out onto the street as quickly as possible,’ he said.
‘There is limited treatment if anything at all.’
He added the supervised day leave being considered for Hammond was ‘appalling’ as it could mean the killer would be able to visit parks where children often play.
‘I fight on behalf of myself and my daughter, and many other families who are in the same situation,’ Mr Herron said.
‘The other thing is that we’re not made aware of it, we’re not told he’s having this day release and the police aren’t told so if anything ever happened who would know?’
Mr Herron earlier lashed out at Victoria’s justice system and Premier Daniel Andrews.
‘I have only just discovered (and not officially) that Courtney’s killer is being prepared for imminent supervised day release,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This doesn’t occur if a prisoner on a supervised order is to serve a nominal 25 year order, as said by the sentencing judge.
‘In fact the Office of Public Prosecutors released a statement suggesting that the order could extend beyond that period … Victoria is all about the perpetrator – there is no protection for victims and a dangerous place for young women. The Andrews regime simply doesn’t care.’
Hammond set to be released temporarily back into the community with a view to setting him free altogether
Thomas Embling Hospital houses some of the most violent criminals in the state
A lonely spot to die: The body of Courtney Herron was found bloody and beaten between these logs
FATHER OF SLAIN WOMAN HITS OUT AT MENTAL HOSPITAL
Courtney Herron’s father John was a Department of Justice Project Director for Forensic Health Services and part of the team that awarded Forensicare the Thomas Embling contract.
‘From my previous work I knew that of the 138 Thomas Embling inmates, perhaps five-to-seven have served the full order term and mostly because they wanted to remain in the exuberant surroundings,’ he said.
‘Therefore to prepare an inmate for day release now indicates a targeted early release by 2024 and 2025 at the latest.
‘My family are appalled at the early release of Henry Hammond, especially given the horrific injuries he inflicted on my daughter.
‘She took several minutes to die an excruciating and painful death.’
‘Henry Hammond has never expressed any remorse and in my view is gaming the system to exit and likely reoffend.
‘Corrections Victoria had identified him while in custody as a high-risk of reoffending for violent crimes.
‘The easy pathway of Henry Hammond’s release is not isolated and is occurring frequently.’
Hammond would not be the first killer to walk free from Thomas Embling on day release. Or cut loose in secret.
Thomas Embling psychiatrists make no secret to Victorian courts that they believe releasing killers back into the community is in the best interests of their rehabilitation.
However, most Victorian judges believe telling the community – or the killers’ victims – about such initiatives is not in the killer’s best interest and therefore suppress any trace of it ever happening.
Daily Mail Australia is aware of at least one savage killer found not guilty of murder by way of mental impairment in recent times already allowed back into the community on supervised day release.
Situated in Fairfield across the road from magnificent parkland and the Yarra River, criminally insane patients from Thomas Embling are sometimes known to gather both there and a nearby cafe.
With access to mobile phones and the internet, patients are free to access social media, dating sites and even menace the families of their victims.
Toni Coscarella, whose parents were brutally killed by her nephew Ross Konidaris, had been repeatedly phoned by him while he was free on day release from Thomas Embling.
Konidaris pleaded not guilty to the murders of his grandparents on mental health grounds and in 2014 was ordered to be supervised for 25 years at the hospital.
The paranoid schizophrenic was on unsupervised release in September 2019 when he armed himself with a meat cleaver and a pair of scissors to break into homes and cars while high on cocaine.
He had been granted permission to leave the mental facility on escorted outings just two years after being placed there.
A young Courtney Herron. She was killed by Henry Hammond, who will never face justice over the shocking crime
Ross Konidaris was able to walk freely among law abiding folk just years after he killed his grandparents
Konidaris shot his grandfather Triantafillio, 81, and grandmother Stavroula, 84, (pictured) with a 12-gauge shotgun as they lay in bed at their home in Yarraville, Melbourne
Ms Coscarella told Daily Mail Australia the community needed to be made aware of the secret release of violent offenders.
‘I found out by accident he had been released,’ she said. ‘He’s not a small boy, and my daughters are petite, and I’m thinking I don’t know what his reaction would be if he was to see them.’
The killer had contacted her multiple times over the phone while free from Thomas Embling on day release and within the hospital itself.
Like Mr Herron, Ms Coscarella believes Konidaris was never mentally ill, but was able to manipulate the system to get his desired result.
‘His use of drugs was high and his impairment was because of the use of drugs just like you have someone who is an alcoholic,’ she said.
Ms Coscarella claimed Konidaris had tested positive to drugs within Thomas Embling a day before they cut him loose to reoffend in 2019.
Upon his release from jail, which could come as early as next year, Konidaris will be placed back at Thomas Embling where he will start the process again.
John Herron and his daughter Courtney in happier times. She was savagely killed by Henry Hammond, who was found not guilty through mental impairment
Caterina Politi hit social media this week to call out Victoria’s justice system after it released the killer of her son David without telling her family
Courtney Herron was beaten to death in an attack that went for almost an hour. Her father John Herron has been denied justice
THE STEPS THAT PUT A KILLER BACK ON THE STREETS
December 17, 2018: Henry Hammond is sentenced to 10 months and 14 days over a savage attack on a woman
Hammond had bashed and strangled the woman and threatened to kill her
She only escaped by gouging his eyes
Hammond had previous offences from NSW related to domestic violence
April 1, 2019: Hammond had been behind bars for 231 days when he won an appeal in the County Court of Victoria
Judge John Carmody re-sentenced Hammond to time already served and added a community corrections order
May 25, 2019: Courtney Herron meets Hammond in Melbourne and treats him to dinner.
Security footage from the Fitzroy restaurant shows the pair happily engaged in conversation.
The pair join a group of Ms Herron’s friends and smoke ice together. Friends video their conversation because they were ‘acting strangely’.
May 26, 2019: Hammond and Ms Herron go for an early morning walk in Royal Park, before he beats her to death with a branch and buries her in piles of leaves and branches.
Dog walkers find Courtney Herron’s mangled body at 9.25am
May 28, 2019: Henry Hammond is charged with Ms Herron’s murder following a series of tip offs sparking a manhunt in Melbourne’s CBD
Hammond tells police he recognised the 25-year-old from a past life. He says he killed her in an act of revenge for killing his wife
May 31, 2019: Thousands attended a silent vigil organised for Ms Herron
September 16, 2019: Hammond is due to be assessed by a forensic psychiatrist
December 18, 2019: Hammond pleads not guilty to murder at Melbourne Magistrates Court
January 7, 2020: Ms Herron’s father John speaks up about his daughter’s death: ‘She died unnecessarily. ‘She had the world at her feet.’
July 21, 2020: Hammond is transferred to a mental health facility after a court agreed he was unfit to stand trial
August 17, 2020: A judge finds Hammond is not guilty of murdering Ms Herron because he has schizophrenia
Mr Herron accused Thomas Embling of pulling the wool over the community’s eyes.
‘Even more alarming, these killers and psychopaths are eased into society rapidly,’ he said.
Hammond – the son of millionaire parents from Sydney – ought never have been released onto the streets to kill in the first place.
Just months before he killed Ms Herron, he had been left on the footpath of Melbourne’s streets by the authorities.
The homeless son of wealthy investment banker Murray Hammond had been gifted a lucky break after another savage attack on a woman.
Hammond had convinced doctors he had believed he was the Norse God Odin and that he feared Ms Herron – a woman he had only just met – was possessed and would kill him.
Ms Herron’s body was found in between logs by three dog walkers in Royal Park in Parkville in May, 2019.
Hammond had smashed her head in during a frenzied attack which lasted close to an hour.
The brute was supposed to be behind bars serving a 10-month sentence over the August 2018 assault of another woman.
But a month before he would kill Ms Herron, he was released on a Community Correction Order after successfully appealing to the County Court that his imprisonment was ‘manifestly excessive’.
Judge John Carmody had released him into the care of Corrections Victoria in the hope he could be managed and obtain drug and mental health treatment.
Hammond’s father had made a whirlwind trip from Sydney to Melbourne to pledge his support for his wayward son and promised he would find him a temporary home.
Mr Hammond Snr told the court: ‘I just (want) Henry to enjoy his life and you know, don’t hurt anyone ever again.’
Victoria’s prisons are full of the homeless who often remain behind bars well past their release dates because they have no fixed address of which to be released.
The OPP had assured Judge Carmody that Hammond was not only suitable for the community order, but that appropriate monitoring would be in place.
Corrections Victoria had approved Hammond for the order despite him having no stable accommodation.
Mr Herron, told Daily Mail Australia at the time his daughter’s soon-to-be killer was dumped on Flinders Lane, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, and forgotten.
Three weeks before Hammond’s release from jail, he refused to participate in a psychiatric assessment.
Mr Herron said that’s one of several monumental blunders that ultimately saw the ice-fuelled Hammond go onto become a killer.
A young Courtney Herron (right) frolics in the trees with her friend Kalinda Brown (left)
‘I can’t believe he could be released without a psychiatric report in the County Court,’ Mr Herron said.
‘Then he got released to no fixed address.’
At Hammond’s court hearing in April last year, Judge Carmody was told Hammond’s previous address had been ‘the sand dunes at Byron Bay’.
‘He was released back onto the street. No fixed address,’ Mr Herron said.
‘I believe he’s scamming for a couple of reasons,’ Mr Herron said. ‘All of a sudden when he’s in trouble he bangs on about ‘Odin’s possessed me’ … he knows he’s done it and he’s gone: ‘I’d rather do it in the psych ward, I’m not going to plead guilty, no way’. I know a criminal and I know this guy is scamming.’
Mr Herron said while a lot of money had been spent on keeping Hammond out of jail, none had been spent on getting him treatment for his supposed mental issues.
‘Ice is an issue with him. He took ice three times a day and killed my daughter yet supposedly that wasn’t a determining factor,’ Mr Herron said.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Victoria’s health department for comment on Tuesday morning but did not receive a response by 5pm.