Saturday 18 January 2020

Husband of murdered Jill Meagher marks 10th wedding anniversary with touching tribute

"Slainte Jill. You were a warrior for love, life and liberation," husband Tom Meagher said in a tribute post

Tom Meagher with his wife Jill
Tom Meagher with his wife Jill
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

The husband of a woman who was raped and killed in Melbourne in Australia in 2012 has shared a heartbreaking tribute to his late wife on what would have been their 10th wedding anniversary.

29-year-old Jill was walking home from a pub in Brunswick when she was raped and murdered in the early hours of 22 September 2012.

Tom Meagher said he still carries the "scars" of Drogheda native Jill's death and described his wife as someone with love and compassion.

"Ten years ago today, I was lucky enough to marry this incredible human," Tom posted on Facebook, alongside a photo of murder victim Jill in her wedding dress.

"While I thought through this imagined future, I scrawled additions and scratched out redundant parts of my wedding speech, and as I wrote (my attention frantically jumping between wine and pen) I day-dreamed about what we will be doing in five years, in ten years, in twenty or thirty years - we never made it to five.

"Four years later she was brutally and violently taken from this world."

Tom said that Adrian Bayley, Jill's convicted killer, was someone who lived with "violence", unlike Jill who lived life with "love and compassion".

"Jill communicates to us through that living space in those woods where we connect, through the ones she loved and who loved her, through everyone who lives life like she did - full of love, compassion, laughter and a force and energy that was literally breathtaking. 

"He communicates with us through violence, misogyny, hatred and death. His pallid shadow can never extinguish her light."

Tom added that the scars of Jill's death are what give him the "strength" to carry on.

Jill Meagher who was murdered in Australia in 2012
Jill Meagher who was murdered in Australia in 2012

"I carry the scars of Jill's death because that's how I remember to carry her light inside me," he said.

"Those scars are what connect me and her, they are what teach me, what give me strength, what allow me to hold the confusing mishmash of emotional chaos together and survive, not without her, but with her loving guidance and formidable strength."

His tribute concluded with a thank you message to Jill for "persistently teaching" him how to live and that she is "loved at every moment".

"Slainte Jill. You were a warrior for love, life and liberation.

"Thank you for consistently and persistently teaching me how to live, how to think, how to embrace love wholly, and to bear witness to the fire you lit in me and so many others in your short time on this earth. 

"You are loved at every moment of every day."

Adrian Bayley pleaded guilty to Meagher's rape and murder in April 2013 and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 35-year non-parole period.

The convicted killer was sentenced to another 18 years in prison in 2015 for three other rape convictions.

In September 2017, it was reported that he was stabbed with a fork in an Australian prison.

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