Melbourne garbage truck driver starts patrol group after student's rape, murder

A Melbourne garbage truck driver has started a patrol group after the horrific rape and murder of a young woman in the city.

Shocked at the violent attack on 21-year-old Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe, 53-year-old Michael Makridis formed the local chapter of the Guardian Angels, a world-wide movement of volunteers who patrol the streets with their distinctive shirt and beret to keep the community safe.

"Everyone has the right to either get home or to get wherever they're going safely, without having to be sexually assaulted or assaulted or killed for it," he told the Nine Network's A Current Affair.

Maasarwe was attacked while she was on FaceTime to her sister. Her sister told police she "heard the sound of the phone falling to the ground and heard some voices," 9 News reports.

"I heard her screaming and screaming and then the call was cut off."

Her body was found partially clothed in bushes in Bundoora. Aspiring rapper Codey Herrmann has been charged with her murder.

Since her death, Makridis has been patrolling nearly every day, and hopes to find others to join him.

"I'm hoping for enough members to be able to broaden our community work, whatever it may be - syringe collection, litter picking, crime prevention, any of those things helping the community," he told The Age.

However Makridis insists the group are not vigilantes.

"To me a vigilante is someone who would be lawless, who would operate outside the law, driven by hate or revenge or something like that," he told The Age.

"The Guardian Angels are no such things. We operate well within the law, with strict policies and procedures, making sure we are unarmed, operating in cooperation with police, not getting in their way and so on."


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