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Friday 15 November 2019

Police believe missing Jill Meagher's bag may have been planted in a laneway

Jill Meagher
Jill Meagher
Police in Melbourne, Australia, who found Jill Meagher's handbag remove the evidence for further examination yesterday
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

POLICE in Australian believe the handbag of missing Irish woman Jill Meagher may have been planted in a laneway, after she had been abducted.

Det-Inspector John Potter, who is leading the investigation into the missing 29-year-old, said he found it strange that a search of the area at the weekend failed to locate the handbag, which was discovered yesterday morning at 6.30 am local time.

"On Sunday police conducted a full line search up and around Hope St," he said.

"There's two options - the original search found nothing and then on Monday the bag was found by a local resident.”

As part of the investigation, police searched the apartment Jill shares with her husband Tom Meagher for three hours yesterday, and left with six large bags.

Ms Meagher, originally from Drogheda, Co Louth, but living in the Australian city since 2009, disappeared in the early hours of Saturday morning - just five minutes' walk from her home.

A police spokesperson said there was hope that she would be found safe but that the case was being treated as suspicious.

However, a police source told the Irish Independent that "after this length of time we're likely looking for a body".

The source added that one line of inquiry being followed by police was that she was "abducted and killed".

Ms Meagher's mother, Edith McKeon, said her daughter would have fought with any attacker. "Even though she's tiny, I think she would have fought."

Ms Meagher's husband Tom said he was enduring "hell". "It's just devastating," he said. "I just hope somebody saw something or she will just walk through the door.''

The ABC Radio producer was last seen at around 1.30am in Bar Etiquette in Brunswick.

Mr Meagher saw a text message from his wife that night asking him to come to the bar and at around 4am he went searching for her.

A clearer picture of Ms Meagher's movements on Friday night has begun to emerge.


She was at a party at the Fad Gallery in the city centre for a colleague's birthday that evening.

Ms Meagher left at around 11pm to take a taxi with a number of friends to the Brunswick Green bar.

After staying for a short time at the bar -- where she is a regular -- she took the short journey up the road to Bar Etiquette, where she was last seen.

Yesterday Mike Nicholas, a manager of the bar, told the Irish Independent that he did not recognise the name when police called to the bar.

"Actually they had to show me a picture and no one in the bar really recognised her," he said.

Ms Meagher, who previously worked at RTE, left the bar at around 1.30am following last drinks. Her ABC Radio colleague Tom Wright was the last person to see her and had offered to walk her home -- an offer that she declined.

At some point around that time, Ms Meagher made a phone call to her brother Michael McKeon (26) and asked him about her father George. He had recently had a stroke.

When Mr McKeon tried to call her back a short time later, the phone went straight to voicemail.

Her mother has said that there were a number of people around her at the time she called Michael.

Yesterday Kevin Meagher, Tom's father, told the Irish Independent that he did not wish to comment.

"We can't talk to anyone right now, thank you," he said at the family home in Cabinteely, Co Dublin.

When Ms Meagher's bag was discovered near a car in a laneway on Hope Street at around 6.30am on Monday, it did not contain her mobile phone.

Irish Independent

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