Sunday 18 March 2018

‘It is not okay to rape and murder my child’ grief stricken dad of Jill tells court

Jill’s dad George McKeon stood in the body of the Supreme Court of Victoria to face killer and rapist Adrian Ernest Bayley and tell how his crime had destroyed his family.
Jill’s dad George McKeon stood in the body of the Supreme Court of Victoria to face killer and rapist Adrian Ernest Bayley and tell how his crime had destroyed his family.
Jill's husband Tom as he leaves the Supreme Court in Melbourne: 'Jill embodied everything I could ever ask for in a partner,' he said.
Adrian Ernest Bayley being loaded into a personal secure prison van after attending the Supreme Court today. Prison security staff in ballastic vests travelled in a 4WD behind Bayley's Van that he was transported in alone.
Prosecutor Gavin Silbert SC said Bayley should be caged for the rest of his life.
Jill's father George and her husband Tom arrive at court. Jill’s mother Edith was too ill to attend.
Jill and Tom Meagher on their wedding day
Ernest Bayley was convicted of the brutal murder of Jill Meagher last year.
Jill Meagher walking home on the night of her death.
Tom Meagher arrives at an earlier court hearing of Bayley
JILL Meagher's father George is overcome by grief as he and his wife Edith, son Michael and Jill's husband Tom, right, watch a flock of doves fly away at the end of her funeral last year

Norrie Ross

JILL Meagher was the entire world for her loving husband and a funny, intelligent daughter who promised her parents they would soon have a grandchild.

In heartbreaking victims impact statements the people Jill left behind told a judge yesterday of their deep distress and sense of loss over her murder at the hands of a man branded a sexual predator.

Jill’s dad George McKeon bravely stood in the body of the Supreme Court of Victoria to face killer and rapist Adrian Ernest Bayley and tell how his crime had destroyed his family.

Addressing Bayley, who sat in the prisoner’s dock with his head bowed, Mr McKeon said in a strong, steady voice “It is not okay to rape and murder my child”.

In his victim impact statement Mr McKeon told Justice Geoff Nettle how he Jill extracted a promise from him after he had a stroke in early September last year.

“I would live and the reason she wanted me to live, which she said quite smartly, was she wanted her children to have a young granddad to run around with,” he said.

“I will never see my daughter bearing and rearing her children.I have no other daughters. My wife of 30 years will never be a maternal grandmother.”

Bayley was confronted for first the first time by Jill’s family and friends but he was too cowardly to look them in the eye, sitting in the prisoner’s dock with his head bowed.

Occasionally he appeared to wipe tears from his eyes but the court heard it is a stunt Bayley has pulled before to try and convince a court he is remorseful for his crimes.

Prosecutor Gavin Silbert SC said Bayley, 41, should be caged for the rest of his life, saying he had a history of horrific attacks on women dating back more than 20 years.

Mr Silbert said it was the Crown case that he killed Jill after raping her because he could not face going back to jail.

In a victim impact statement read on his behalf Jill’s husband Tom said he now had first hand knowledge of how depraved and disgusting a human being can be.

“Jill embodied everything I could ever ask for in a partner,” he said.

“What was stolen from me on 22 September 2012 was love, my best friend and my entire word. What was stolen from us was our future, the possibility of a family and our lives together.”

Jill’s mother Edith McKeon was too ill to attend court but her victim impact statement revealed that she is now a broken woman.

“I have been shocked to the core of my  being.I feel battered and bruised as a mother, never whole again without her,” Mrs McKeon said.

“I can no longer live an ordinary life and my heart suffers from the deepest wound from which it will never recover. I was her mother for almost 30 years and she was taken so suddenly from my life.

“The impact of Jillian's murder has been catastrophic.”

Mr Silbert told the Supreme Court of Victoria that Bayley had been convicted of 22 counts of rape against six victims and was on parole when he dragged the Drogheda woman into a Melbourne laneway and strangled her.

“The Crown case is that he is a sexual predator,” Mr Silbert told the pre-sentence plea hearing.

“He well knew that that if he was convicted of the rape of Jill Meagher he would spend the next 20 years in jail. That’s why he decided to kill her.”

Bayley, 41, previously pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Ms Meagher, 29, who was attacked in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick on September 22 last year.

After the hearing Victoria’s Premier Denis Napthine said the state’s parole system had failed Jill Meagher and her family.

“The system was flawed, the system failed Jill Meagher,” Mr Napthine said.

Appearing near to tears the Premier said the government had acted in the wake of Jill Meagher’s death.

“Our actions are the minimum we can do to try and make sure this never, ever happens again,” he said.

Under changes to the parole system any violent or sexual offender who commits an offence while on parole in Victoria is immediately locked up.

Mr Silbert told the court it was the Crown case that Bayley should not be given a minimum term on a life sentence because of his criminal history, his lack of remorse, his poor prospects of rehabilitation and the seriousness of the offence.

The prosecutor said Jill was walking home from a night out with friends when Bayley accosted her and dragged her into a laneway just 550 metres from her home.

Bayley raped then strangled his victim and left her body and went home to retrieve a car and a shovel.

Mr Silbert said Bayley drove Jill’s body 50mk to Gisborne South and buried her in a shallow roadside grave.

The extent of Bayley criminal history was revealed for the first time and even defence counsel Saul Holt SC conceded that a life term was open to the judge.

Bayley was just still in his teens when he raped his sister’s teenage girlfriend, attempted to rape and threatened to kill a 17-year-old and attempted to rape a 16-year-old hitchhiker he abducted from a roadside.

In 1991 he was jailed for five years with a minimum of three years after admitting those crimes.

In 2002 he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape against five prostitutes and he was jailed for 11 years with a minimum term of eight years.

He was on parole for these offences when he murdered Jill and he was also on bail over an incident in August 2011 where he broke a man’s jaw and knocked him unconscious.

 Mr Holt said although it was conceded Bayley could be jailed for life he should be given a minimum term.

Mr Holt said his client had shown genuine remorse and was filled with self loathing for what he had done.

Forensic psychologist Professor James Ogloff told the judge that that Bayley had been physically and sexually abused as a child and had a “borderline personality disorder”.

Prof. Ogloff said if Bayley was challenged he enjoyed hurting women and having sexual power over them.

He said Bayley tried to commit suicide by slicing his wrists with a tin can lid last October and although he was remorseful and self-loathing a prognosis that he would not re-offend was “very guarded”.

He agreed with Mr Silbert that Bayley is a dangerous sexual predator who who responded to resistance with anger and rage.

Justice Nettle said he will sentence Bayley on June 19.

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