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Thursday 2 October 2014

Devastated Tom Meagher tells of frantic search for murdered Jill

Sam Griffin

Published 26/04/2014 | 02:30

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Jill Meagher with husband Tom.

TOM Meagher, husband of Irishwoman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Australia 18 months ago, said he immediately knew he was looking at his wife's killer when he saw him on CCTV footage.

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In his first Irish interview since her murder, Tom described trying to call Jill and then desperately roaming the streets of Melbourne in a frantic search for his wife after she failed to return home from a night out.

"I kept ringing and it was only when it rang out and went straight to voicemail ... it became just blind panic," he said on 'The Late Late Show' last night.

"I phoned a couple of her friends but obviously it was so late. None of them had heard from her. I went out looking for her, which was a really a strange thing to do because the streets are completely empty. There's nobody on the streets. It's really eerie and you don't know where to look. It's complete silence."

Jill's murderer, Adrian Bayley, who had previously raped five women and was out on parole at the time of the attack, was arrested after CCTV footage showed him following her. Tom described the footage as "horrifying".

"I knew as soon as I saw that man standing in the doorway he'd done something to her. Jill hasn't been home since Friday night and there's this man lurking in a shop hallway.

"The fact you can see her last moments is horrifying," he said.

"I was clutching at straws, I was saying is there any chance she's still alive?"

Tom launched a major campaign after his wife's murder into the city's parole laws and said he "literally vomited" after reading reports outlining Bayley's previous attacks on women.

Tom has since returned home to Ireland and has been campaigning to highlight violence against women in everyday life by men in his online blog. He has also been announced as the face of the White Ribbon Campaign, which works to change attitudes and behaviours that lead to attacks on women.

"We're trying to engage men to fight all violence against women. A lot of violence against women we don't see. There's a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in society. We're trying to engage men as the primary perpetrators of these crimes," he said.

Bayley was found guilty of Jill's murder last year and was sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment.

Irish Independent

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