Vigil held in memory of slain Irish woman

Sat, Sep 29, 2012, 01:00

A CANDLELIT vigil was held in Brunswick, Melbourne, last night to remember Jill Meagher, the Drogheda woman murdered after a night out in the city a week ago.

From 6pm local time, a stream of people gathered outside Brunswick Baptist Church to pay their respects for Ms Meagher (29), not far from where she lived and from where she was last seen.

Her body was found on Thursday off a dirt road about 50km northwest of Melbourne.

Yesterday, 41-year old Adrian Ernest Bayley, charged with the rape and murder of Ms Meagher, appeared in a packed Melbourne Magistrates Court. He sat just metres from Ms Meagher’s husband Tom and her brother Michael McKeon.

Nine hours before the court appearance, police had discovered her body in a shallow grave.

Mr Bayley, from Coburg, had earlier came before an out-of-sessions court hearing at the St Kilda Road police complex where he was remanded in custody to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The gathering at the church was organised to facilitate the public to express their grief and condolences at her death.

Thousands of people signed books of condolence and the Tricolour outside the local authority office was flown at half-mast yesterday in Ms Meagher’s hometown of Drogheda, Co Louth, as a mark of respect.

Ms Meagher’s uncle, Michael McKeon, said funeral arrangements had not been finalised but if Ms Meagher’s final resting place is in Australia there will also be a service held in Drogheda.

Throughout the day, flowers, candles and letters were laid on the pavement outside a bridal dress shop on Brunswick’s Sydney Road. It is the premises from which CCTV footage caught some of Ms Meaghers last movements.

Messages of condolence also flooded a Facebook page, set up last week to help find Ms Meagher. In the time since her body was found, the “Help us find Jill Meagher” page had received several hundred messages from around the world.

Ms Meagher’s husband also thanked the public and police for their support. “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 Bayley will next face the court at a committal hearing scheduled for January 18th.