Meagher husband 'humbled' by support
A man charged with the rape and murder of Irishwoman Jill Meagher has appeared in court in Melbourne.
Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) sat in the dock at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court just metres from Ms Meagher’s husband Tom, her brother Michael McKeon and homicide squad detectives.
Nine hours before the court appearance, police had discovered Ms Meagher’s body in a shallow grave beside a dirt track in Gisborne South, 50km from where she had gone missing in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
Ms Meagher (29) had been walking the short distance to her home after a night out with work colleagues in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, when she was allegedly abducted by Mr Bayley.
Police do not have any other suspects and said that it was an opportunistic, random attack.
Mr Bayley, from Coburg, had earlier came before an out-of-sessions court hearing at the St Kilda Road police complex and was remanded in custody to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Before the hearing started, deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic greeted Ms Meagher’s relatives and told them the matter would take only a couple of minutes.
Earlier, Ms Popovic, noting there were “grief stricken” relatives in court, asked if the police and the prosecutor, Luke Exell, would like to talk with the family members before the hearing proceeded. The packed courtroom was then cleared for a private meeting. Tom Meagher and his brother-in-law Michael McKeon held each other’s hand in court as Mr Bayley briefly appeared.
The accused replied “Yes” when Ms Popovic asked him if he understood that she could not grant him bail due to the gravity of the charge. He will next face the court at a committal hearing scheduled for January 18th.
Following the hearing, Mr Meagher thanked the public and the police for their support. “Despite the fact that this is the worst thing that we will ever go through in our lives, I’ve been really humbled by the support of the Australian public, the tireless efforts of the police and all the friends and families who’ve put their lives on hold to help us out,” he said.
Mr Meagher also urged people to consider what they posted on websites such as Twitter and Facebook. “While I really appreciate all the support, I would just like to mention that negative comments on social media may hurt legal proceedings, so please be mindful of that,” he said. “I would also like to say that if the press, if the media could respect the privacy of the Meaghers and the McKeons at this time, that would be brilliant. Thank you.”
A Facebook page established last Sunday to help find Ms Meagher attracted more than 120,000 supporters and hundreds of messages.