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Jill Meagher Photo by: Handout

Family of murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher shares devastation during hearing

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Jill Meagher Photo by: Handout

The man who raped and murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher has been described as one of the most depraved sex offenders in Australia.

Adrian Bayley, 41, previously pleaded guilty to raping and murdering the 29-year-old woman from Drogheda, Co. Louth, in Melbourne last September as she walked home from a nearby bar.

At his sentencing hearing on Tuesday at the Supreme Court of Victoria, Bayley was described as a “violent sexual offender” with a “degree of sexual depravity rarely seen” in the Australian system.

The court heard that he had a history of violent sex attacks and had previously raped 21 times, the first time when he was 18-years-old. He was on bail for an assault conviction and also on parole for previous rape convictions at the time he attacked Jill.

Her father, George McKeon, broke down as he delivered his victim impact statement.  He said his daughter helped him recover from a stroke in 2012 and he was looking forward to becoming a grandfather.

“I will never see my daughter bearing and rearing her children. I have no other daughters.  My wife will never have a maternal grandchild, and that bond between her and her daughter has ended,” he said.

As he spoke from the body of the court Jill’s father looked towards Bayley, whose head was bowed, and told him in a forceful voice, “It is not okay to rape and murder my child.”

Jill’s husband Tom Meagher’s statement was read by a lawyer who said on his behalf that Jill’s murder had reinforced “just how deeply depraved and disgusting human beings can be.”

Jill’s mother, Edith, was too ill to attend court from her home in Perth to which the family moved from Ireland in 1990. But the court heard her victim impact statement that her life ended the night Jill died on September 22, 2012. She kept thinking of the terror Jill experienced when she was ”cruelly taken.”

Prosecutor Gavin Silbert said Bayley had a history of horrific attacks on women dating back more than 20 years, and he killed Jill after raping her because he could not face going back to jail.

The prosecution submitted that Bayley should be sent to jail for the rest of his life. He should not be given a minimum term on a life sentence because of his criminal history, his lack of remorse, his poor prospects of rehabilitation and the seriousness of the offense.

Jill was walking home from a night out with friends from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation when Bayley accosted her and dragged her into a laneway just 550 meters from her home. He raped and strangled her and left her body in the laneway and went home to retrieve a car and a shovel. He drove Jill’s body 30 miles to Gisborne South and buried her in a shallow roadside grave.

The court was adjourned and Justice Geoffrey Nettle will hand down sentence next week.

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