| 13.5°C Dublin

1,000 attend farewell for murdered Jill 'who touched our hearts'

Mourners at a special memorial Mass to Jill Meagher have been told how the murdered woman's hopes and dreams were "cut short by a despicable act that has left us all numb".

Speaking to a congregation of close to 1,000 people, Jill's aunt Catherine McKeon-Halpin paid tribute to the outpouring of support their family has received since Jill first went missing in Melbourne two weeks ago.

"To our friends and the people of Drogheda, Australia and especially Brunswick, who marched in their thousands, you gave our families and me the courage to get through these past two weeks," she said.

"May we offer you our sincere thanks."

The grieving aunt was speaking after an emotional Mass in St Peter's Church, Drogheda, Co Louth, last night where Jill was baptised 29 years ago.

The priest who married Jill and her husband Tom in 2008, Fr Oliver Devine, told the congregation that Jill's abduction, rape and murder had horrified people in both countries.

"She has touched the hearts of all of us even if we only knew her for a short time or even if we didn't know her at all apart from what we have learned from the media."

Speaking after the Mass as he held a large framed picture of Jill, her uncle Michael McKeon said his message to Jill's friends was to make the most of friends while they were around.

"Value your friendships here and now, look to the person beside you and give them a big hug. Don't leave it."

Yesterday, family and friends of murdered Ms Meagher said an emotional goodbye at her funeral in Melbourne.

The 29-year-old journalist was killed nearly two weeks ago after a night out in the city which she had made her home. A 41-year-old man has been charged with her murder.