Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Attacker jailed for Meagher murder

Jill Meagher was killed after a night out in Melbourne, Australia

A serial sex offender has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of an Irish woman that outraged Australia's second-largest city.

The death of Jill Meagher as she walked home from a bar in September shocked the city of Melbourne. A week later, 30,000 people took to the streets near the lane where she was strangled to rally against violence toward women.

Ms Meagher, 29, was born in Drogheda and had moved to Australia.

Adrian Bayley was sentenced at Victoria state Supreme Court to life imprisonment. He had pleaded guilty to rape and murder.

The 41-year-old cannot be considered for parole for 35 years.

He had served eight years for raping five women but was on parole when he killed Ms Meagher.

Ms Meagher's husband Tom Meagher told the court his faith in mankind had been destroyed.

"I think of the waste of a brilliant mind and a beautiful soul at the hands of a grotesque and soulless human being," he said in his victim impact statement. "I am half a person because of this crime," he added.

Justice Geoffrey Nettle told Bayley: "It was a savage, violent rape of the worst kind. Your killing of the deceased ranks among the worst kind conceivable."

After the sentencing, the victim's father George McKeon read a brief statement on behalf of the family outside court in which he thanked police and prosecutors. "Jill was brutally raped and murdered and she is never coming back," Mr McKeon said. "Justice has now been done."

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