Saturday 18 November 2017

Man pleads guilty to Jill Meagher’s rape and murder

By Norrie Ross.

ADRIAN Bayley has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Drogheda woman Jill Meagher in an Australian Court overnight.

Bayley, 41, had previously indicated he planned to plead not guilty to the murder of Jill but was brought before an unscheduled hearing of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

As the single counts of rape and murder of the 29-year-old were put to him Bayley replied "guilty" in a soft voice.

Justice Geoff Nettle remanded Bayley, a pipe layer of the Melbourne suburb of Coburg, and he will reappear on June 11 for a pre-sentence plea hearing.

Jill went missing as she walked home from the pub in Brunswick on September 22 last year and her body was found six days later in a shallow grave 50km north west of Melbourne.

Her family were not present during the court hearing.

Jill was a former employee at ABC radio in Melbourne.

Her death caused a massive outpouring of grief in her adopted home of Australia and her native town of Drogheda, Co Louth.

Her husband Tom Meagher from Cabinteely in Dublin has remained dignified in the face the unbearable tragedy.

At her funeral Tom bravely spoke saying: "Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I'll love you forever."

Jill’s family released 29 white doves -- one for each year of her life, a symbol of her free spirit.

Her father George cried as he lifted his head skywards and waved goodbye to the doves. He gripped hold of Jill's heartbroken husband in a long embrace as the two consoled each other.

In an emotional tribute Mr Meagher said his "beautiful wife" was happiest when making someone else laugh.

He spoke of an impulsive woman -- who instantly hated her tattoo and who was the only person he knew to have 20 jobs in 17 months.

Mrs McKeon spoke lovingly of her "fantastic" daughter.

She said: "From the moment she was born she was just so funny, just so goofy.

"She had a great love for the craic -- all you Australians have known Jill long enough to know what that means.

Jill's brother Michael said: "I am lost without her but I don't think she is gone. She is with us always."

Earlier, Jill's dad George spoke through tears as he read the birthday card he gave her on her 22nd birthday, adding: "I'm looking ahead to the time when I can see you and be with you again."

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