Mourners gathered for the funeral of slain Greek Australian woman Courtney (Kostandina) Herron, 25, on Monday, more than a week after her body was found at Royal Park in Melbourne.
Loved ones left flowers outside Saint Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church at Moonee Ponds. There were friends from many facets of the young girl’s life attending the funeral service.
Her mother, Maxie (Metaxia) Antoniou and grandmother Connie walked beside the coffin as it was brought into the church, decorated with pink lilies, tulips and white roses. Her father, lawyer John Herron, wept as both he and Maxie kissed their daughter’s coffin.
There were several photographs of Ms Herron as a young girl on display with the words, “Do not mourn my absence, feel me close and still talk to me. I will love you from Heaven as I have you on Earth.”
“There is a place in our hearts that is yours alone, a piece of our lives that no-one else can own. The tears in our eyes we can wipe away but our memories of you will always stay,” a tribute in the funeral service booklet read. It included selfies and other photos that showed a happy young girl that liked to dress up. They were photos selected to show the way in which her family want her to be remembered.
A moving eulogy written by her godmother, who playfully referred to Courtney as Courky, was read out by the priest. “So here we are, before you heavenly father, in deep sorrow, broken in spirit, mourning the loss of our goddaughter, daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend, Courtney,” he read. “I brought her to You in the hope she would love You and live a life of joy, fulfilled by your word. Sadly, she was taken from us.”
The priest expressed his condolences to the family for the loss of their “beautiful daughter, granddaughter, sister”. He said that it is hard to express in words and comfort the family who have lost the “light of their lives”.
Courtney will be buried alongside her pappou at the Northern Memorial Park in Glenroy.
At Friday night’s vigil, Maxie said that her daughter is at peace. Speaking in front of a crowd of hundreds, she said that her daughter was “in the arms of her pappou”.
An online Go Fund Me page gathered more than $14,000 for the young woman’s funeral costs. Her family had asked for donations to Front Yard Youth Services in lieu of flowers.
Homeless man Henry Richard Hammond, 27, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court last Monday on charges of murder. Police described her death as “particularly horrendous”.