Jill Meagher (Gillian nee McKeon) was born on the 30th October 1982 in Drogheda Ireland. In 1990 her and her family moved to Perth, Australia when their father George McKeons was offered a job. They lived there for 4 years and the whole family were able to obtain an Australian citizenship. In 1996 the family then returned back to Ireland. When Jill was 19 years old she studied at Dublin’s University College in English and Sociology. Through her studies she met 21 year old Tom Meagher. They dated for 7 years and in 2008 they married in Ireland.
A year later the newlyweds Jill and Tom formally moved back to Australia. Her parents by that time had moved back as well and were settled over in Perth on the other side of the country. The pair settled in Melbourne and Jill began administrative work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation better known at the ABC and occasionally would work on air for their radio station 774 ABC Melbourne. Feeling settled in their careers and in their new city the two were talking about buying a house and having kids together one day.
On the 21st September 2012 Jill and her co-workers went out to the Brunswick Green Bar and later to Bar Etiquette for a night out after work. At 1:30am in the morning she was ready to leave and decided to walk the short 700m and less than 10 minutes to her home. Being in the days before Uber her friends offered to call her a taxi but she declined as the trip was so short. The paths were brightly lit with street lights and there were still many people out and about in the busy city. While she was walking she called her brother to talk about their father who had fallen ill just a week prior. This was the last time her family or friends heard from their beloved Jill. Tom Meagher woke the next morning to find that his wife hadn’t come home from her night out and instantly began looking for her.
In the coming days after her disappearance a Facebook page was created called “Help us Find Jill Meagher” and many of her colleagues used Twitter to help search for the missing woman. The use of social media in the case quickly gained national attention. Along with enormous media coverage within 5 days of her disappearance 100,000 people followed the facebook page searching for Jill. 3 days after her disappearance Jill’s handbag was discovered just a short distance away from her home in a lane way. Police were extremely suspicious as this area had previously been searched without any evidence found. The next day CCTV footage from one of the store fronts along the road that Jill walked that night was handed over to police. She was picked up on many cameras even running into a friend on her walk home. The two embraced and chatted for a moment and then went on their way. Moments later footage was taken of a man running up to where Jill was walking. At 1:42am the footage showed Jill speaking to the man who was wearing a blue hoodie out the front of a bridal store. In the video she was seen waving her phone at the man and walking away. This is the last image taken of Jill that night.
Through the CCTV imagery police had been suspicious of a man named Adrian Bayley who looked similar to the suspect. He was known to police for previous rapes and sexual crimes. He was eventually convicted of sexual charges against 12 different women. On the 27th September just 6 days after the disappearance police arrest Bayley and brought him to the station. After hours of questioning he emotionally broke down in the interrogation and admitted that he had strangled Jill Meagher and buried her body. He said his intentions were to rape the woman but after he approached her she flipped him off and threatened to call the police. Further down the path out of view of any CCTV or witnesses he grabbed Jill and forced her into a darkened side street. He raped and then stragled her some 400m away from her home. At around 10:00pm the same night as the confession Bayley led police to a shallow grave and Jill’s remains were recovered. The outcome of the disappearance and Bayley’s arrest generated an enormous public response as it was such a frequented area where the crime happened, she was only a few hundred meters from her home and most shocking because the perpetrator was currently on parole for a series of sexual offences.
After learning the tragic end to Jill Meagher the nation mourned together. In her city of Melbourne a mural was painted on the famous Hosier Lane with the words RIP Jill Meagher painted in bright white lettering. Her husband Tom has been well known in the media for publicly assisting in the search for his wife. He has also since campaigned for change in what has been called an epidemic of violence against women in Australia. When actor Charlie Sheen, who has plead guilty to domestic violence charges in the past, was due to tour Australia for a speaking engagement Tom publicly campaigned against letting the celebrity into the country. He tweeted, ” If … we believe it is appropriate to welcome a serial violent offender like Sheen to an arena where he is applauded, celebrated and speaks unchallenged, it is difficult to believe that this is a country that takes the job of ending its epidemic of male violence against women seriously.” Less than a year after her death Adrian Bayley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period which was later extended to 43 years for the rape and murder of Jill Meagher.