A 20-year-old man has been arrested by Victoria Police over the killing of international student Aiia Maasarwe.
The arrest was made at 11.20am in the suburb of Greensborough, close to Bundoora where her body was found.
“Homicide Squad detectives have arrested a man as part of the ongoing investigation into the death of Aiia Maasarwe,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“The arrest follows an extensive investigation into Aiia’s death following the discovery of her body near Main Drive and Plenty Road in Bundoora on Wednesday 16 January about 7am.”
Sergeant Julie-Anne Newman thanked the public for their help in the investigation.
It is believed the man will be questioned by police over coming hours.
Police said the 21-year-old international student was set upon after she alighted from a number 86 tram on Plenty Rd and began walking near Main Drive.
She had been returning home from a comedy show in North Melbourne.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the murder as the “most despicable of crimes”, while Labor leader Bill Shorten said it was “shocking and senseless”.
Mr Morrison said his heart went out to Ms Maasarwe’s family, though he could not begin to think of what he would say to them.
“I know what I’m thinking about her attacker. I expect it’s the same thing that all other Australians are thinking today,” he said.
“I know the police will do their job and they’ll deal with it. But the rest of Australia has to wake up today and deal with the most despicable of crimes.”
He also stressed that every person in Australia should be able to travel home safely and that the government must remain “forever vigilant” to the issue of male violence against women.
Mr Shorten said the murder doesn’t reflect the Australia or Melbourne he grew up in.
He said his feelings for the grief of Ms Maasarwe’s family were strong but he wanted to reassure them Australia’s police are among the best in the world.
“They will successfully catch, and our legal system will punish, the wrongdoer,” he told reporters on Friday.
The Labor leader also criticised Victorian senator Derryn Hinch for revealing graphic unconfirmed details of the crime on social media.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Ms Maasarwe “should have been safe here” and that he is “heartbroken that she wasn’t”.
“Victorians are united in sadness. In anger that this bright young woman’s life was taken from her. I hope we are also united in determination. That we can – and must – end this culture of violence against women,” he wrote on Twitter.
“But nothing will change until we change, too. Until we stop blaming ‘bad men’ – while ignoring the sexist attitudes in our society that created them.”
Mr Andrews said tonight people would be gathering on the steps of Victorian Parliament to remember a “21-year-old just making her way in the world, with her whole life ahead of her”.
Hundreds of people draped in black are expected to sit silently on the steps before packing the 86 tram full of flowers and candles.
Within hours of police confirming Ms Maasarwe’s identity, multiple tributes popped up on social media, offering places for Melbourne residents to come together and reflect on the latest horrific event to plague the city.
‘Keeping Silent Vigil’ is inviting people to gather on the steps of Parliament at 6pm to “honour the lives of women and children so brutally ended by male violence”.
Co-organiser Jessamy Gleeson, who was also involved in organising the vigil for Eurydice Dixon last year, said she was “shattered and heartbroken” to be organising another event just six months later.