Sunday 21 October 2018

blue hoodie the hunt for jill meagher and the mysterious man on the cctv video

There was something about the disappearance of a 29-year-old Irish woman on the streets of Melbourne that caught the imagination of people here at home.

Perhaps it was that so many young Irish people had headed Down Under to escape the recession and could have found themselves in the same situation.

Or perhaps it was the photo released by Sydney police of a pretty, smiling Jill Meagher, her face framed by her long, dark hair.

Then there was the phone call she had made to her husband on the night of September 22. She was having a drink with colleagues from broadcaster ABC, and called her husband to see if he would join them.

There were so many "what-ifs" about the case: what if she had taken a different route, or left earlier, or been accompanied, or accepted the lift a colleague had offered?

As it happened, she left the Etiquette bar at about 1.30am. CCTV footage showed her checking her phone. Minutes later, her brother called her several times, but got no answer.

Her husband Tom, who was at their home five minutes away in the suburb of Brunswick, also made multiple calls before heading out at 4am to try to find his wife.

The search for Jill Meagher became a social network phenomenon. A Find Jill Meagher Facebook page was set up at 12.30pm the day after her disappearance. It soon had 120,000 followers.

On the Wednesday after her disappearance, tweets mentioning her name reached 12 million Twitter news feeds.

Her parents, George and Edith McKeon, flew to Melbourne from their home in Perth. Back home in Drogheda, the McKeon and Meagher families were united in concern over Jill's disappearance. The couple had emigrated three years earlier.

The police investigation began to centre around a man in a blue hoodie seen talking to Jill on CCTV footage. Police questioned, and then arrested, Adrian Ernest Bailey (41) from the Coburg area.

At 10pm on Thursday night, Bailey led police to where Jill's body lay buried in a shallow grave at Black Hill Road in Gisbourne South.

Bailey was charged with murder and rape, and has been remanded in jail awaiting trial. He has since tried to take his own life.

As soon as news of his arrest broke, many people posted information about Bailey on Facebook, while many others posted incitements to hatred. Some called for him to be murdered in jail.

Tom Meagher called for these posts to be taken down lest they prejudice Bailey's trial, but Facebook refused.

Meanwhile, 30,000 people marched along the route Jill would have taken home the night she was killed, and there were vigils held in her home town of Drogheda.

Much of the commentary on social media concerned the experience of other women near the Sydney Road area. Since Jill's murder, city authorities have spent $50m (€40m) on upgrading security in the area.

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