This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
Advertisement

Israeli student (21) murdered in Melbourne while on phone with sister

Aiia’s body was found early Wednesday near the campus of Melbourne University where she was studying.

Images of Aiia Maasarwe released by Victoria Police
Images of Aiia Maasarwe released by Victoria Police

AN ISRAELI STUDENT has been killed in a late-night attack in Australia while she was speaking on the phone with her sister, police said today.

Police appealed to the public for help tracking down the killer of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found early Wednesday near the campus of the Melbourne University where she was studying.

“This was an horrendous, horrific attack inflicted on a completely innocent young woman who was a visitor to our city,” Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told reporters in Melbourne today.

Maasarwe, who was reportedly five months into a year-long exchange at Melbourne’s LaTrobe University, was riding a tram home from a comedy club to the suburb of Bundoora before she was met by her attacker around midnight.

She was talking on the phone with her sister, who was overseas and raised the alarm after something went awry mid-conversation, police said.

“(Her sister) heard the sound of the phone falling to the ground and heard some voices,” Stamper said.

Her body was found Wednesday morning by passers-by at 7am about 50 metres from the stop where she exited the tram.

Stamper said the report from her sister came in at about the same time.

Police would not confirm reports they were investigating a sexual assault but said known sex offenders are an “active line of enquiry”.

AIIA MAASARWE TRIBUTE People lay flowers where the body of Isreali student Aiia Maasarwe was found near the Polaris Shopping centre in Bundoora, Melbourne Source: AAP/PA Images

Officers retrieved a black baseball cap and a grey t-shirt they believe were worn by the perpetrator from the crime scene, which they described as “very distressing”. 

The victim’s family, who are on their way to Australia, described Maasarwe as “happy”, “adventurous” and “smart”.

“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it… the day before my wife had said to me, ‘We’ll have to go to Australia, Australia’s very safe, very nice’,” the victim’s uncle Rame Maasarwe told national broadcaster ABC from the United States.

“We cannot believe that something like this happened in Australia, we think it’s very safe there.”

Maasarwe was reportedly planning to go to China to work with her father’s business after her studies.

Police said they were “confident” of finding the perpetrator.

© AFP 2019

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (33)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel