Belfast Telegraph

Murdered woman's widower returns

The widower of an Irishwoman who was raped and murdered in Australia almost a year ago is to return home to "clear his head".

Thomas Meagher has been left "a broken man" after his wife Jill, 29, from Drogheda, Co Louth, was killed in Melbourne last September.

Oscar Yildiz, mayor of Moreland, Australia, where the couple lived, said the devastated widower is to spend time with his family in Ireland as the anniversary of her death approaches.

"He's coming back later on this month to clear his head and touch base with his family," Mr Yildiz said.

"He's an incredible human being. He's a broken man but I just can't believe how mentally tough he really is. He's an absolute gentleman."

Mr Yildiz, who travelled to Drogheda for an official event to honour Mrs Meagher, said her death had "galvanised" the entire community back in Melbourne.

He said Mrs Meagher, who worked for broadcaster ABC, would not be forgotten and had left a legacy in terms of improving safety measures in the city and sparking a review of parole laws.

The man convicted of her murder was serial sex offender Adrian Ernest Bayley.

He was on parole at the time of her murder, having served eight years of an 11-year sentence for raping a number of women.

Bayley was sentenced to 35 years in prison for raping and murdering Mrs Meagher.

Mr Yildiz, who promised to build a memorial to Mrs Meagher in Moreland, which is in the municipality of Melbourne, said her widower has been working hard to prevent something similar happening to anyone else.

"He really is a guy who to some extent hasn't lost the fight," Mr Yildiz told RTE Radio.

"He's continuing it and I agree that Bayley should have probably received the maximum sentence for the rape of Jill. He only got 15 years but he really should have got 25 and probably 25 for murdering her.

"He should have been put away for a long time."

Around 30,000 people marched in memory of Mrs Meagher in the north inner suburb of Brunswick where she lived, following her death last September.

Mr Yildiz said the same organisers are planning another march to mark her anniversary and discussions are under way to set up a foundation in her honour.

He said he was also in talks with mayor of Drogheda Richie Culhane about a potential twin-city relationship.

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

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