Australian man 'set to plead guilty' to Jill Meagher murder

Adrian Bayley (41) previously pleaded not guilty to murder and not guilty to two charges of raping the Drogheda woman

Jill Meagher from Drogheda, Co Louth,  was killed after a night out in Melbourne, Australia,  last September.

Jill Meagher from Drogheda, Co Louth, was killed after a night out in Melbourne, Australia, last September.

 

The man charged with raping and murdering Irish woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne last September is expected to change his plea to guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court tomorrow.

Adrian Bayley (41) previously pleaded not guilty to murder and not guilty to two charges of raping the Drogheda woman.

Mr Bayley was last month committed to stand trial on the charges. He was due to return to court on April 29th for pre-trial discussions, followed by the trial in September.

But local media in Melbourne has reported that he has agreed to plead guilty to murder and one count of rape in a case which has made headlines in Australia and Ireland.

The decision reportedly comes after long negotiation between Mr Bayley’s defence team and senior lawyers from Victoria’s office of public prosecutions (OPP).

It is understood the OPP refused the original offer from his lawyers, which would have seen Mr Bayley plead guilty to manslaughter.

He has already appeared in the Supreme Court for a directions hearing, following his committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court last month. At the completion of that hearing, Mr Bayley pleaded guilty to one count of rape.

The committal hearing heard Mr Bayley "accosted" Ms Meagher in the early hours of September 22nd last before dragging her into a laneway in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, where it is alleged he raped and strangled her.

The court heard he left her body there and went to his nearby home, before returning to the scene three hours later with his car and a shovel.

Mr Bayley allegedly put the body in the boot and drove Ms Meagher 50 km outside Melbourne to Gisborne where he buried her in a shallow grave.

He is expected to appear at a hearing tomorrow afternoon to formally change his plea.

The matter is set to be heard by Justice Geoffrey Nettle at 2.15pm (4.15am Irish time). It is expected he will then be arraigned for a plea hearing at a later date.

The likely sentence Mr Bayley would receive in exchange for his guilty plea has reportedly not been discussed.