Car, second man near missing Irish woman - witness

Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 01:00

THERE WERE claims early today that new closed circuit film of the street from where missing Irishwoman Jill Meagher disappeared shows her walking unsteadily along Sydney Road oblivious to a man running towards her.

A new witness has told police a car did a sudden U-turn towards Ms Meagher as a man wearing a blue hoodie closed in. The new CCTV footage showed the car and also a second man walking some distance ahead of Ms Meagher, the witness said last night.

Police, who say they have not ruled out abduction, would not confirm the witness report. Earlier, Catherine Deveny, a comedy writer, social commentator and broadcaster well known in Australia for her work as columnist with The Age newspaper, said she had been attacked in July, aparently by the man shown in other CCTV footage released by the police.

“He was alone. On foot and I described him as ‘early 30s sandy hair, jeans and blue hoodie.’ I just saw the footage now. Same guy,” she said by Tweet

“If you look closely at the footage [released by the Melbourne police] he appears to have a gun in his pocket . . . ”

In the footage, Ms Meagher is seen talking to a man shortly before she disappeared in the early hours of last Saturday morning. Ms Meagher (29), vanished after socialising with colleagues at a bar in the suburb of Brunswick, not far from her home.

The images show Ms Meagher walking north on Sydney Road at 1.41am. Six other people can also be seen walking along the road and detectives are urging them to come forward.

“It is just a missing person [case] at the moment,” a Victoria police spokesman told The Irish Times. “We want to speak to the people who can be seen on the CCTV footage, who were on the street at the time. We ask that these people come forward.”

The police particularly want to speak to a man wearing a blue hooded jacket or jumper seen talking to Ms Meagher in the footage. He is seen walking past the camera twice before talking to Ms Meagher.

“We’re interested in talking to anyone who was in the Sydney Road area,” said Det Insp John Potter. “We’re particularly interested in talking to a man in a blue top who’s depicted in the footage and appears to be talking to Jillian. There may be a rational explanation to what’s happened but he certainly could help us.”

In the footage, Ms Meagher has an ABC bag (from her employer) over one shoulder and her handbag over the other, and appears to have a mobile phone in her hand. “We don’t know whether she knows the man. It appears to be a casual conversation struck [up] . . . but we don’t know,” said Det Insp Potter.

The footage shows another man looking back over his shoulder shortly after Ms Meagher and the man in the blue top walk past.

“The man that looks back obviously has seen something. We don’t know what it is but something has caught his attention,” said Det Insp Potter.

He said nobody had been ruled out as a suspect in Ms Meagher’s disappearance, but that there were as yet no suspects. He said the evidence was pointing towards abduction. “We’re looking more and more at that as a possibility,” he said. Police believed Ms Meagher’s husband, Tom, was at home. “Mr Meagher is not being treated in any way as a suspect,” he said.