Belfast Telegraph

Emotional farewell to murder woman

Family and friends of murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher have said an emotional goodbye at her funeral in Melbourne.

The 29-year-old from Drogheda, Co Louth, was killed after a night out in the city nearly two weeks ago.

Her grief-stricken family and a small group of friends attended a private service at Fawkner Memorial Park in Melbourne. Her husband Thomas Meagher said his wife was happiest when she was making others laugh. He said "I couldn't ask for more loyalty, happiness and fun. Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I'll love you forever."

White ribbon wristbands were given to mourners to signify the fight to prevent violence against women and 29 white doves were released at the end of the service, one for each year of Mrs Meagher's life.

Her father George McKeon fought back tears as he read a card he and his wife Edith sent to their daughter in 2004, in which they told her how much they missed her, her laughter, energy and smile.

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

Later, at a memorial in St Peter's Church, Drogheda, Jill Meagher's hometown, Cardinal Sean Brady offered prayers for the family.

He said: "There are no words which can begin to capture the overwhelming grief and loss which Jill's family and friends must be feeling at this time. Jill Meagher represented the hope of a new generation of Irish people, who, despite being far from their homeland, were making a future for themselves abroad.

The Cardinal said the special bond between Ireland and Australia has been evident since her disappearance. Father Oliver Devine, who married the couple, said Jill Meagher would be remembered as a thinker, a composer of poetry, someone who wanted to make a difference.

Ms Meagher moved with her family to Perth aged six and returned to Ireland aged 16. She vanished after a night out with colleagues from ABC almost two weeks ago and her body was found in a shallow grave last Friday. A 41-year-old man has been charged with her rape and murder.

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