Father says justice done as Jill Meagher murderer jailed

Adrian Bayley will serve at least 35 years for ‘savage' crime


The father of Jill Meagher said today justice had been done after the man who dragged the Drogheda woman off a Melbourne street, raped and murdered her was jailed for at least 35 years.

George McKeon was speaking outside court in Melbourne this morning after Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) was jailed to life in prison for the crime.

‘‘Jill was brutally raped and murdered and is never coming back,” said Mr McKeon. “Because of Ben Leonard and the team at Victoria Police and Richard Lewis and his colleagues at Public Prosecutions Victoria, justice has now been done.

“Police and prosecutors, we thank you.”

Justice Geoffrey Nettle in Victorian Supreme Court said what happened to the Drogheda woman (29) was one of the worst crimes imaginable.

Justice Nettle, when sentencing Bayley to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years, said Bayley was a sexual deviant who had intended to murder Ms Meagher either because she was threatening to call the police after being savagely raped or because he had taken a perverse pleasure in taking her life.

The judge said Bayley’s offending was particularly heinous and made even worse by his attempts to conceal Ms Meagher’s body and the fact he had raped and murdered the former ABC radio employee while on parole.

Justice Nettle said the murder, in terms of moral culpability, ranked “among the worst kinds conceivable’’ and Bayley had to be jailed for a very long time.

‘‘The deceased was unknown to you,’’ the judge told Bayley.

Video: Statement by Jill Meagher's father

‘‘You were larger and stronger than she and you used that physical advantage to dominate her. In effect, you dragged her off the street, late at night while she was peaceably going about her own business within a stone’s throw of her home. The rape was savage and degrading. It took place over time.”

Justice Nettle said Bayley told psychologist Professor James Ogloff that he had tried to kiss Ms Meagher and touch her bottom outside a Brunswick laneway off Sydney Road at 1.38am on September 22nd last year.

Ms Meagher reacted by stepping back and slapping Bayley across the face. Bayley told Dr Ogloff he lost it and became outraged that she had rejected his advances.

Justice Nettle said Bayley was determined to have his way with Ms Meagher and overpowered her and raped her where she stood. Bayley strangled Ms Meagher after she became angry with him following the rape, hit him with her mobile phone and threatened to call the police.

He claimed he later sat in the laneway crying and panicking after realising Ms Meagher was no longer breathing.

Justice Nettle said Bayley claimed that after he had raped Ms Meagher on the bonnet of a car, he tried to quieten her down by putting his arms around her but she fell back and hit her head on the concrete.

‘‘Nevertheless, you held her down with your hand ‘on the bottom part of her neck’ and maintained pressure until she stopped moving,’’ the judge said. ‘‘Asked how long that took, you said no more than a minute and that, because you are not a small person and fairly strong, you should have known better. On the basis of your admissions to the police and Professor Ogloff, I am persuaded beyond reasonable doubt that when you saw an opportunity to rape the deceased, you took it,” he said.

‘‘It was a savage, violent rape of the gravest kind committed upon a woman whom you knew was most certainly not consenting.’’

Justice Nettle said Ms Meagher had been a small woman, only 157cm tall and weighing 55kg, and a man of Bayley’s size could have easily controlled her.

‘‘I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that your previous offending illuminates your moral culpability for the rape and murder of the deceased and ... demonstrates a dangerous propensity to subject women to rape and violence in order to satiate your perverted sexual desires.’’

The judge said psychological testing had revealed Bayley was not a psychopath but had a borderline personality disorder that manifested in rapid and extreme mood swings and, in particular, poorly controlled anger.

Justice Nettle said while he saw little reason to suppose that Bayley would ever be rehabilitated given his past, he could not exclude the chance of improvement.

‘‘As bad as your crimes are, you will have the opportunity in jail to strive for rehabilitation and I propose to set a non-parole period as an incentive for you to try.’’

Justice Nettle sentenced Bayley to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for rape and ordered he serve a non-parole period of 35 years.

He said if Bayley had not pleaded guilty, he would have jailed him for life with no parole.

Bayley had been on parole when he attacked and killed Ms Meagher after being jailed in 2002 for 11 years for raping five prostitutes. He served eight years before being released in 2010.