Saturday 16 November 2019

Priest tells children: Jill Meagher would have been 'home in bed' on night of murder if she was 'more faith-filled'

Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.
Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.
Jill and Tom Meagher on wedding day
Adrian Ernest Bayley Newsdesk Newsdesk

A Catholic priest has reportedly told a primary school mass in Melbourne that Jill Meagher would not have been murdered if she had not been out so late at night.

The Irish woman was raped and murdered while walking home after leaving a Brunswick pub at about 1.30am in September, 2012.

Adrian Bayley has since been jailed for her rape and murder. He was also recently found guilty of three more rapes, one committed in the weeks before Jill's death.

According to Australian reports, the priest made the comments to staff and students on Friday morning at a Melbourne primary school while holding up a picture of Bayley from the newspaper.

Radio station 3AW reported the priest to tell the group that if Ms Meagher had been "more faith-filled", she "would have been home in bed and not walking down Sydney Road at 3am".

The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monsignor Greg Bennet, has since told 3AW radio station the Catholic Church apologised for the priest’s comments.

“The church or the diocese certainly does not condone the comments made and the homily was totally inappropriate,” he said.

“The reference to Jill Meagher in particular was offensive and inappropriate and the people of Victoria and Ireland mourn her sad and tragic death.”

Monsignor Bennet also said he has since spoken to the priest, who has acknowledged that the homily was inappropriate and also apologised for the upset it caused.

In the recent court cases, Adrian Bayley was found guilty of raping a Dutch backpacker and two prostitutes in the St Kilda suburban area of Melbourne. One of the attacks took place just two months before the death of Ms Meagher.

Serial rapist Adrian Bayley was out on parole after having served a non-parole term of eight years of an 11-year maximum term for sex assaults in St Kilda when he killed Ms Meagher.

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