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Family of murdered Jill criticise 'idiotic' priest's offensive homily

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Jill Meagher with her husband Tom. Jill was murdered while walking home from a night out in Melbourne in 2012.

Jill Meagher with her husband Tom. Jill was murdered while walking home from a night out in Melbourne in 2012.

Adrian Bayley

Adrian Bayley

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Jill Meagher with her husband Tom. Jill was murdered while walking home from a night out in Melbourne in 2012.

Jill Meagher's family have branded a Catholic priest "stupid and idiotic" after he suggested she would have been "home in bed" on the night she was raped and killed, had she been more religious.

The controversial homily was reportedly delivered during an end-of-term service at a primary school in Melbourne, Australia.

The priest held up a newspaper article with an image of Ms Meagher's killer, Adrian Bayley.

It is reported that he then said to an audience of about 100 people that if Ms Meagher had been "more faith-filled" she "would have been home in bed" and "not walking down Sydney Road at 3am".

Bayley raped and killed Ms Meagher in a laneway in September 2012.

He was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 35 years.

Joan Meagher, Jill's mother-in-law, said she was "shocked" by his "ridiculous" comments.

"He's offended a lot of people. This murder has nothing to do with anything - except the guy who killed Jill.

"Adrian Bayley was out there that night looking for a victim and found her.

"He was looking for anyone, it didn't matter to him who the person was.

"She was living in another part of Melbourne six months previously - if they hadn't moved, she wouldn't have died.

"But they did move, and she is dead. It's nothing to do with anything except the guy who killed her.

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"If she had been anywhere else at all, on another street, she wouldn't have been killed.

"It's a stupid thing to say, but I don't care what people like that say."

Speaking to the Irish Independent, she said Jill wasn't particularly religious, but was "very spiritual".

She said Jill and her husband Tom had a strong code of ethics.

"But she wasn't saying the rosary every night," she added.

"Even religious people get killed in not-so-nice ways."

Monsignor Greg Bennett, vicar-general of the archdiocese of Melbourne, said the church did not support the "totally inappropriate" and "offensive" comments made by the priest.

Meanwhile, Tom Meagher has revealed he has not read any media reports about Adrian Bayley's conviction for raping three other women .

He said he his is determined to "protect" himself from the "horrendous details" involved in the other assaults.

He said to read any kind of report of what these women went through would act as a "trigger", and bring back a flood of nightmare memories.

"I stayed away from everything because I was aware the details were fairly horrendous.

"It's very triggering. It will take a bit of time for me to sit down and read that sort of stuff."


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