Suspect said he'd kill me, says nurse

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 30/09/2012
Stacey Scaife

TERRIFYING: Nurse Stacey Scaife says she recognises the man charged with the high-profile murder of Jill Meagher, which has shocked Melbourne over the past week.

Jill Meagher
Jill Meagher went missing on Friday night when walking home from drinks with workmates.

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A 23-year-old New Zealand woman says she was threatened with death by the man now in custody for the high-profile murder of Jill Meagher in Melbourne.

Nurse Stacey Scaife, who moved to Melbourne from Christchurch last year, went into Brunswick Police Station in December and asked if she could buy pepper-spray to defend herself from a "terrifying" man who had approached her on two separate occasions near the spot Meagher was last seen alive.

The man crept up behind her on a dark street, wearing a dark, hooded leather jacket, jeans and white shoes, and told her he was going to strangle her.

Despite describing the threat to police and asking how she could defend herself, she said no details of the incident were recorded. At the time, Scaife lived about 500m from Meagher, 29, who was abducted in a random attack just over a week ago in a case that has captivated Melbourne.

Her body was found in a shallow grave on Thursday and 41-year-old Adrian Bayley was charged with her rape and murder in the Melbourne Magistrate Court on Friday. Meagher's death has touched thousands across Australia and in Ireland, where she and her husband were born and met as university students before taking a world tour several years ago and ending up in Melbourne.

CCTV footage released last week of Meagher speaking to Bayley on the night she died, left Scaife in "disbelief".

She told the Sunday Star-Times she had "no doubt" it was Bayley who had threatened her own life nine months ago and felt "it could have been me". He was even wearing the same jeans and white shoes, Scaife said. "I instantly recognised him from the way he was walking and the way he was talking to her."

The first time she was approached by the man was in Brunswick in November - only metres from where Meagher's discarded handbag was found.

Scaife was with a group of friends when a man singled her out and started talking to her at a rapid pace about how he used to "smash people with his brother in a boxing ring".

The nurse believed he was either on drugs or having a manic-bipolar episode.

He started to punch and kick the air around her "pretending like he was in a boxing ring" and Scaife said when the lights went green, she crossed the street to get away from him.

The second time he approached her, about six weeks later, he was a lot more sinister, she said.

It was in early December and Scaife was with a group of female friends walking to a train station when Scaife fell behind the others to send a text message.

A man "came up behind me, close to my ear and started talking in a loud whisper. He was saying something about nunchucks and strangling me with them. He was talking really fast again like last time and he just kept describing to me how he was going to kill me. He kept saying it over and over, ‘I'm going to kill you'."

Her friends came back to try to get the man away from Scaife. Afterwards, Scaife decided to go to the police and was disappointed they did not record the incident at the time. Victoria Police would not comment on the Meagher case because it is before the courts.

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"We understand the community's interest in this investigation of Jill Meagher, however Victoria Police does not disclose the specifics of our methodology or our investigative techniques," a spokeswoman said.

- Sunday Star Times

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