Man charged with killing Jill Meagher in Melbourne
A 41-year-old man has been charged with the rape and murder of Irish woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne.
Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) from Coburg, just north of Brunswick, came before an out-of-sessions court hearing at the St Kilda Road police complex and has been remanded in custody to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Australian police said the charges came after her body was found in Gisborne South at around 1.45am today.
It is understood the body was discovered in a shallow grave at Gisborne South, about 30km from where Ms Meagher vanished. A Victoria Police spokesman said officers continued to conduct forensic analysis of the scene.
Coburg is just north of Brunswick, where Ms Meagher (29) was last seen in the early hours of Saturday morning after a night out with work colleagues.
In a statement tonight, Ms Meagher's family said they are devastated at her death.
Speaking from Drogheda, where Ms Meagher lived before she and husband Tom left for Melbourne three years ago, her uncle Michael McKeon said: “We are devastated. We are heartbroken. She was the first grandchild my mother had and her aunts, uncles and cousins are powerless to describe their loss.”
“There are no words to describe how we feel at what has happened."
Mr McKeon said they were aware that Facebook and Twitter users had helped in the search for her. “We acknowledge the role that social media has played in the search for her. We believe that it has helped us to reach a conclusion although it is not the one we had hoped and prayed for. We thank the people around the world who have supported us.”
Mr Bayley is understood to be the man seen wearing a blue hooded top in CCTV footage released by the police on Wednesday. He was arrested today and was questioned at Victoria police’s special crime department in the St Kilda area of the city.
Police do not have any other suspects and said it was an opportunistic, random attack.
Ms Meagher's parents, George and Edith McKeon, who live in Perth in Western Australia, were told about the arrest by their son, Michael just before the police made a public announcement. Michael McKeon has been in Melbourne since last Saturday.
Ms Meagher declined an offer for a lift home from a colleague in the early hours of last Saturday morning, saying she would make the five-minute walk from the bar she had been drinking in to her home alone.
The arrest came after a public appeal for information following the release of CCTV footage which showed Ms Meagher being approached by a man in a blue hoodie.
Several other women have come forward to say they were attacked in the Brunswick area.
A woman using the name Angela told Melbourne radio station Fox FM that a man attempted to drag her into a car on the same street in where Ms Meagher was believed to be headed for when she disappeared.
She said she was walking along Hope Street late at night when a man in a silver Mercedes attempted to abduct her.
"I just had this weird feeling and I turned around, there was a silver Mercedes following me and he stopped the car. It was obviously still on, but he pulled over and he’d opened the passenger side door and tried to pull me in, so I just ran,” she said.
Angela said she had to hide in a bush after a person in a house she sought help from refused to let her in.
It has also been emerged that in April last year, a 28-year-old woman told police she was sexually assaulted in the nearby Royal Park by a man who was wearing a grey or blue hooded top.
The man, who had short blonde hair and a thin build, allegedly pulled out a weapon and robbed the woman before sexually assaulting her.
Police have increased patrols in Brunswick following Ms Meagher’s disappearance.
Highway patrol officers, plain clothes detectives, bike patrol officers and uniformed police are patrolling the area.