Melbourne remembers Jill Meagher

Sun, Sep 30, 2012, 01:00

About 30,000 people attended a march in Melbourne today to honour Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in the city on September 22nd.

Among those attending was Ms Meagher’s mother, Edith McKeon. Ms McKeon went to the Duchess Boutique shop, where a CCTV camera filmed the last known sighting of her daughter as she spoke with a man in a blue hooded top.

He has since been charged with her rape and murder.

Accompanied by family members, Ms McKeon read messages attached to the hundreds of bouquets of flowers left outside the boutique, which has become an impromptu shrine to Ms Meagher (29).

Ms Mckeon thanked the public for their support. “I would like to thank the huge support from Melbourne. It's just been unbelievable and just thank you,” she said. “Simply, thank you, and I hope they put cameras in here. Keep people safe and just thank you everybody for all your support.”

Posters announcing the march appeared around Melbourne and online after Ms Meagher’s body was found on Friday morning. The march, which went through the Brunswick suburb where Ms Meagher lived, started at midday on Sydney Road, where she was last seen alive. The march paused for a minute's silence in a nearby park.

The local mayor, John Kavanagh, told ABC radio it was an important event for the community. “It's actually not a council-organised march, but we're supportive of whatever the community want to do,” he said.

“We'll be looking at ways in which to recognise the life of Jill over the next few days, but at the moment it's the community's role and right to celebrate her life in whichever manner they feel fit, while respecting the family.”

Mr Kavanagh says the Melbourne community’s response Ms Meagher's death has been overwhelming.

“It's really comforting that in a time when people feel isolated in the community, that when things are really down, and they couldn't get much more tragic than this event, that the community is able to come together and unite and comfort each other,” he said.

“And really, it really is a time for comfort. I feel as though there is a black cloud hanging over our city, particularly the suburb of Brunswick.”

Philip Werner, who organised the march, says the huge numbers attending is a sign of how strongly the community feels. “Once we got to Brunswick Road and looking back up the hill there's just this sea of people,” he said.

“Something that I feel really strongly is that everyone is here of their own accord, and everyone is here for this message and to show solidarity. Everyone's here because they feel the same way.”

Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) has been charged with Ms Meagher's rape and murder. He will face a committal hearing on January 18th.

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