Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Murder 'has brought people closer'

Jill Meagher was killed last September after a night out with friends in Melbourne

The murder of an Irish woman in Australia has brought the people of her home towns closer, it has been claimed.

Drogheda native Jill Meagher was killed last September after a night out with friends in a suburb of Melbourne, where she lived.

Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, last week pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of the 29-year-old.

The Mayor of Drogheda, Paul Bell, said everyone in the area is behind her family in their fight for justice for their beautiful daughter who was killed in the most brutal and hideous circumstances.

"I am relieved that Jill's husband, mother and father, and all her relations and friends, will not be put through the public hearing of evidence of how Jill met her death," said Mr Bell.

"But I am sure that this development will not address the pain and sadness which Jill's family and friends suffer every day from her untimely and tragic death. The circumstances of Jill's death have confronted the citizens of Drogheda and of Melbourne with the question of what kind of society and community we wish to live in.

"If there is anything positive to come from Jill's tragic death, it is that she inspired the people of Melbourne, some 30,000 of them, to take to the streets of her adopted homeland and demand change to ensure that no other citizen suffers in such a way. Her death has also brought the citizens of Drogheda, Melbourne and Moreland into a close and unbreakable friendship and I wish to thank the citizens of Melbourne and all Australia for their support and prayers."

Mrs Meagher's body was found 30 miles north-west of Melbourne after she had failed to return home from a night out with workmates.

Mr Bell thanked the people of Drogheda and Irish citizens living in Australia for their support of Jill's husband Tom and her parents George and Edith McKeon, who all reside in Australia.

"I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Australian police for their relentless and committed investigative work, and also the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, the Mayor of Moreland, John Kavanagh, and Australian premier Julia Gillard for their continued support and contact with the citizens of Drogheda," he added.

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