Man charged with murder of Jill Meagher as body is found
THE BODY of murdered Irishwoman Jill Meagher was found in a shallow grave in Melbourne yesterday afternoon Irish time.
Her family said they were “devastated and heartbroken” by her death.
A 41-year-old man was charged with her rape and murder in Melbourne after her body was found.
A statement released by Ms Meagher’s uncle Michael McKeon last night said her aunts, uncles and cousins were “powerless to describe their loss”.
Adrian Ernest Bayley from Coburg 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.
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.
ABC News reported that police went with Mr Bayley to a location at Gisbon South, 50km northwest of Melbourne, where her body was found. A Victoria Police spokesman said officers were continuing to conduct forensic analysis of the scene.
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 yesterday and was questioned at Victoria police’s special crime department in St Kilda.
Police do not have any other suspects and said that 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 of 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 that showed Ms Meagher being approached by a man in a blue hoodie.
Several other women have come forward to say they had been attacked in the Brunswick area.
Speaking from Drogheda last night, Ms Meagher’s family said: “We had hope yesterday when there was no evidence of foul play but when the man in the CCTV footage was arrested we feared the worst”.
The family thanked the public “around the world” for their help and acknowledged the role that social media had played in the search.
They said that while it had helped them to reach a conclusion, “it is not the one we had hoped and prayed for”.
Jill Meagher’s uncle said that both the McKeon and the Meagher families would have to plan now to grieve.
“This is going to be one of the hardest things, given that only three years ago we came together for the marriage of this lovely couple.”