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Saturday 16 December 2017

All the boys had crush on Jill, says heartbroken childhood pal

A
young Jill
Meagher and
her brother
Michael
McKeon
A young Jill Meagher and her brother Michael McKeon
Matthew Griffiths (33) first met Jill as an eight-year-old after her family moved to suburban Perth.
Jill with her brother Michael McKeon.
Jill on her wedding day with her dad George.

James Dowling

TWO childhood friends of Jill Meagher's, whose body was found in a shallow grave in rural Australia last month, paid an emotional tribute to the happy girl with the "pale Irish legs".

Matthew Griffiths (33) first met Jill as an eight-year-old after her family moved to suburban Perth.

He said the happy girl with "the cute Irish lilt" who lived two doors up always knew how to talk her neighbours into giving out sweets.

"If she wanted Mrs Lim to give her lollies (sweets), she would compliment her on her wonderful garden -- and it always did the trick.

"At one stage every boy on the street had a bit of a crush on Jillian -- I know I did."

The families kept in touch when the McKeons moved back to Drogheda, Co Louth, years later.

And Mr Griffiths was at Jill's wedding to Tom Meagher three years ago.

"We heard that Jillian had met a wonderful guy. When I was invited to the wedding I jumped at the chance."

Mr Griffiths would visit the couple regularly after they moved to Melbourne.

It was only a few hundred metres from the Meaghers' Brunswick flat that Jill was last seen speaking to a man on CCTV footage.

Local man Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) has since been charged with her rape and murder.

Matthew's brother Simon told Australian magazine 'New Idea': "We've lost someone special. A part of our childhood has been taken from us." Wiping away tears, Matthew added: "I still can't really accept that this has happened to Jillian."

Mr Griffiths and his brother Simon, with neighbours from Minchin Place, recently held a candlelit service outside Jill's childhood home, at which Matthew read a note.

"Words cannot express how deeply devastated I am that you have been taken from our lives. Jillian, for the rest of our lives this world won't be the same," he said.

Irish Independent

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