Meagher CCTV images released
Police in Melbourne have released CCTV footage of missing Irish woman Jill Meagher that show her talking to a man shortly before she was last seen early on Saturday morning.
Ms Meagher (29) disappeared after socialising with work 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 Victorian 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,” he said.
The police particularly want to talk to a man wearing a blue, hooded jacket or jumper who is seen talking to Ms Meagher in the footage.
The man 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 Detective Inspector John Potter, in a media conference that was broadcast live on the internet.
“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 CCTV images, Ms Meagher has an ABC (her employer) bag over one shoulder, 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. . . . But we don’t know,” Det Insp Potter said.
The footage also shows another man looking back over his shoulder shortly after Ms Meagher and the man in the blue top walk past.
“Particularly the man who looks back must have seen something going on. Whether it be a conversation we don’t know,” Det Insp Potter said.
“The man that looks back obviously has seen something. We don’t know what it is but something’s caught his attention.”
Det Insp Potter said nobody had been ruled out as a suspect in Ms Meagher’s disappearance, but that there were no suspects at this time. He said the evidence was pointing towards abduction.
“We haven’t been able rule out [abduction] at all, and in fact we’re looking more and more at that as a possibility”.
He said police believed Ms Meagher’s husband, Tom, was at home at the time the CCTV footage was taken, and that he made several attempts to phone her before searching nearby streets. “I will say, Mr Meagher is not being treated in any way as a suspect,” he said.
The police say that at the moment they have no further sightings of Ms Meagher.
A phone call Ms Meagher made to her brother, Michael, that took place at 1.45am places her about 400m from her home, police say.
Forensic tests are being conducted on items removed from Ms Meagher’s apartment yesterday, as well as on her handbag, which was found by a passerby on Monday morning in an alley off Hope Street, close to where she was last seen.
However, police yesterday questioned whether the bag was planted by someone involved in Ms Meagher’s disappearance, as it had not been found during an earlier police search.
Ms Meagher has not answered phone calls or used her bank account since she went missing.
Her mobile phone has been switched off or run out of power, and has not been found.