'I'm a very powerful shaman': Accused killer had been banned from restaurant

Accused killer Henry Hammond was banned from a Thornbury restaurant where he volunteered because he frightened the customers.

Lentil as Anything manager Dayle Lee Jones said Mr Hammond was living in a van beside the restaurant car park and had come to believe he was the Norse god Odin.

She was forced to bar him from the restaurant – a non-profit, pay-as-you-feel eatery that is 99 per cent run by volunteers – after alarming incidents including one in which he repeatedly threw himself against the window, scaring customers.

Mr Hammond faced court on Monday charged with the murder of Courtney Herron, whose body was discovered in Royal Park on  Saturday morning.


The killing triggered a wave of grief from the many who loved her and from the wider community distraught and outraged at the death of another woman, allegedly at the hands of a man, in Melbourne.

Ms Herron had also been sleeping rough and battling drug addiction.

Mr Hammond's family released a statement on Tuesday expressing their shock at Ms Herron's death.

"Our deepest sympathy and compassion goes out to Courtney’s family and friends on their heartbreaking loss," the statement reads.

"Henry Hammond grew up loved by his family and friends. For many years he has struggled with mental illness, more recently drug issues and homelessness.

"We ask the media to please respect our privacy as we try to process this tragedy. Our hearts go out to Courtney’s family and friends."

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On Tuesday it also emerged that Mr Hammond, 27, had appeared in a 2018 "Street Talk" segment of The Footy Show at Hosier Lane in Melbourne's CBD.

A dishevelled Mr Hammond, who was playing a recorder, told host Sam Newman: "I've put bamboo through my nose because I'm a very powerful shaman."

Footage later in the segment shows him dancing and flinging his arms towards the sky.

Ms Lee Jones said Mr Hammond came into Lentil As Anything every day as a patron and the restaurant took him on as a volunteer because he didn't have any money.

"I spent many an hour sitting outside on the kerb with him giving him the opportunity to have somebody to talk at, not necessarily talk to," she said.

"Talking to him, it was his love life and I don’t know what happened with his fiancee … I know he was devastated. He never once mentioned he had a son."

She said his behaviour deteriorated to the point that she was concerned about him being around other staff and patrons.

"Because of his aggression – we try to give people a second chance, especially when mental health is involved – it just became too much. And so I had to ban him from the restaurant."

Ms Lee Jones said she had called police about Mr Hammond several times because of his threatening behaviour and his belief he was a god.

"I ended up calling the mental health services in the northern ward to get them to come and pick him up because he didn’t have anybody … He was always here, out the front, he was intimidating and scary."

Ms Lee Jones said she and her staff were devastated by Ms Herron's murder and the fact someone they knew had been implicated.

Eurydice Dixon, 22, had volunteered at the same restaurant before she was murdered in Princes Park by Jaymes Todd on June 13 last year.

“She was an amazing person," Ms Lee Jones said.

"[It's] one extreme where one volunteer is killed senselessly, [then another] to have someone who was a volunteer and patron, who we tried to help, to be standing accused of murder."

Ms Lee Jones said when she tried to get Mr Hammond psychiatric help last year she was left on hold for two hours until someone could speak to her.

She said services met with Mr Hammond that year and had attempted to find him appropriate accommodation, but she did not know if he was ever placed anywhere. The last thing she heard was that his mother was looking for him because he had "disappeared again".

Ms Jones agreed to speak about Mr Hammond's case in the hope it would draw attention to what she and experts agree is a buckling mental health system.

"There is a bigger and bigger gap, we see it here," she said, referring to her more vulnerable regulars.

"[Mental health workers] are under pressure. There's not enough funding."