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Goodbye Jill

HEARTBROKEN Jill Meagher's father looked to the skies as 29 white doves were released at her funeral today.

THIS was the heartbreaking scene as murder victim Jill Meagher was laid to rest today.

Melbourne stood still as the murdered Irishwoman was remembered as a fun-loving, stylish and generous woman.

Her dad, George McKeon, said that memories of his daughter "gently slip into my thoughts and make me smile".

He held her husband Tom's hand as they released a peace dove for each year of Jill's short life.

Mr McKeon read aloud a card that he wrote to Jill seven years ago when they were on opposite sides of the world.

"It's hard to be apart from you. So many of my thoughts are of you," he read.

"Each night when the world is quiet and still, your smile and the wonderful moments we have shared crowd my mind. Then I find myself missing you even more."

Her mum Edith added: "The light she brought to our lives almost 30 years ago will shine on us forever."

Amid devastating scenes, Mr McKeon said: "Each day as I go about my routine, you slip gently into my thoughts and make me smile.

"I wonder what you are doing, trust that everything is going well and hope that you miss me too."

Jill (29) was murdered after she was abducted on the way home from a night out with her colleagues in Melbourne.

Her body was found in a shallow grave in Gisborne South, in Victoria, about 50km from where she disappeared in Brunswick, Melbourne.

Serial sex attacker Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) has been charged with her rape and murder.

White ribbon wristbands were distributed to mourners to symbolise the fight to prevent violence against women.

Mourners at the hour-long funeral service in Fawkner Memorial Park were told that on the darkest of days, Jill's "vivacious and goofy" character brought ripples of laughter and smiles to her family and friends.

At the emotional ceremony, Jill's husband Thomas Meagher described his wife's sense of humour and said the Louth woman was happiest when she was "making others laugh".

"I couldn't ask for more loyalty, happiness and fun," he said.

"Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I'll love you forever.

"Slan abhaile, mo chara."

Her mum Edith McKeon said that Jill had great empathy for everyone and was a high achiever in her career.

"She was a determined person who achieved everything she put her mind to, but she was a messy creature and was as clumsy as hell, but she had style," she said.

"She loved to party, enjoyed and shared the craic. She was so precious to us and we loved her so much."

And she urged mourners to "smile when you think of her".

The mourners were told how Jill, who worked in ABC local Victoria radio, wanted to write novels and comedy shows and had created a character named Gloria the Clown.

This evening, a public memorial Mass will be held for in Drogheda in St Peter's Church at 7pm.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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