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'Jill begged me to live after stroke to see my future grandchildren'

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Jill Meagher

Jill Meagher

Jill Meagher

A NEEDLESS crime that stole a daughter, a wife and a friend.

Jill Meagher's family and friends told the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, today that their lives have been ruined by Adrian Ernest Bayley.

But nobody gripped the courtroom like the young ABC worker's father.

George McKeon told how Jill intended to be pregnant by now, how his own wife would now never have maternal grandchildren and how it is "just not okay to rape and murder".

Mr McKeon's wife Edith was too ill to travel from their home in Perth for today's hearing – but he bravely represented the family and his daughter's memory.

The grieving dad has told how Jill helped him through a stroke just weeks before her death and urged him to live for his future grandchildren.

"At the outset, it is hard to say, but it is just not okay to rape and murder my child. That is an absolute," he said.

"I am only 55 years of age, my mother is 82, and my daughter is dead.

"In September 2012 I had a stroke and Gillian came over because I had the stroke and to help me get through it, and [she] extracted a promise from me that I would live and the reason she wanted me to live, which she said quite smartly, was she wanted her children to have a young granddad to run around with.

"She loved life."

 

Brutality

He said that Jill's death would fill his mind for the rest of his life and he could never forget the brutality of her last moments. "My wife of 30 years will never be a maternal grandmother," he said.

The tragic woman's husband Tom Meagher left the courtroom before the statements were read but a lawyer explained how Jill's death had turned his life upside down.

He described Jill as his best friend in the entire world and said her murder had reinforced "just how deeply depraved and disgusting human beings can be".

He referred to her fun and adventurous spirit and zest for life.

The court heard how her Tom is haunted by what happened, wishing he could have told her he loved her in her final moments. He described his wife as having a beautiful mind and a brilliant soul.

"I am half a person because of this crime," he said.

Mr Meagher said his wife's death had left him "shattered to the core". He said he missed the dream of having a family with Jill and that she was witty and had an unquenchable love of life.

He said he had experienced fear, anger, insomnia and panic attacks since his wife's death.

A third statement read on behalf of Edith McKeon recounted how Jill had met Tom back in Ireland after their family had moved to the wonderful country of Australia when Jill was seven.

Jill and Tom had chosen to live in Melbourne for the great lifestyle it offered.

She said that her life ended on September 22, 2012.

She said as a mother she felt battered and bruised and she kept thinking of the terror that Jill experienced when she was "cruelly taken."

hnews@herald.ie


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