Thursday 21 November 2019

Jill Meagher killer found guilty of three more brutal rapes

Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.
Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.
Jill and Tom Meagher on wedding day
Adrian Ernest Bayley

Mark O'Regan

Jill Meagher's husband was "dreading" the conviction of Adrian Bayley for raping three other women as he continues to struggle to come to terms with his wife's death, his mother has said.

Bayley is serving a life sentence with a non-parole period of 35 years for the rape and murder of Ms Meagher in a Brunswick laneway in Melbourne in September 2012 as she walked home from a night out with work colleagues.

Bayley was on parole at the time he raped and killed the Drogheda native, close to her home in the Australian city.

The 43-year-old has now been found guilty of three more brutal rapes of young women in Melbourne in the years before he murdered Jill.

Two of the victims - a Dutch backpacker and a young prostitute - were raped just months before Ms Meagher was killed, an Australian court heard.

Bayley has now been found guilty of raping 10 women and attempting to rape two more.

The court heard that Bayley raped an 18-year-old prostitute in his car in 2000; another 25-year-old sex worker in April 2012; and a Dutch backpacker in July 2012 - just two months before he attacked Ms Meagher.

The court heard that the serial rapist had picked up all three women in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, before driving them to a remote laneway with the passenger door pressed up against a fence.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Tom's mother Joan said her son wasn't looking forward to news of the conviction being reported in the media, as he is trying to move on with his life.

"He was dreading it coming out, because it would mean pictures of him and Jill on the TV news all over again.

"He has his ups and downs, but considering what he's been through, he's doing fairly well... it changed his whole life.

"It was all so sudden and horrible."

Asked if has found happiness with anyone else, she said: "I don't think he's ready for any serious relationship."

Joan said she remains in regular contact with Jill's parents, George and Edith McKeon, in Perth, through emails and Skype calls.

"We exchange our thoughts and memories of her, but it's terrible for them.

"It's bad for us, but it's really awful for them.

"I'd say they're finding it terribly difficult. She was my daughter-in-law and I loved her.

"She was very much part of the family, but I didn't give birth to her, so it must be absolutely appalling for them."

She said it was unlikely that Jill's parents will ever get over the death of their daughter.

"I don't think it's something you can ever get over, especially as it was such a horrible, horrible death."

She also said news of Bayley's latest convictions didn't come as a surprise to them.

"Her parents were expecting it.

"They knew this was going to happen. But there has been a huge outpouring of support for the family from ordinary people in Australia.

"They get loads of emails from people they don't even know, wishing them well."

Jill's father, George McKeon said while nothing can bring back their daughter, it was clear the Victorian Parole Board "failed to protect our daughter and many others in the community".

Ms Meagher's parents have asked for a coroner's inquest into the circumstances of their daughter's death not to proceed.

They say little will be "learned or gained" from an open inquest into her death.

"As a family we have until now been very mindful not to make any statement or take any actions that might delay the outstanding criminal proceedings against Gillian's murderer," they said in a statement.

"However, now that these proceedings are completed, we want to try and obtain closure and to ensure that other families don't have to endure this trauma.

"Nothing can bring back our daughter but, as was clear from the Callinan report, the Victorian Parole Board failed to protect our daughter and many others in the community."

Tom and Jill were married in Ireland in July 2008.

They had moved to Australia in 2010 and settled in Melbourne.

Irish Independent

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