Jill Meagher killer jailed for 35 years

MARK RUSSELL
Last updated 14:43 19/06/2013
Fairfax Australia

Australian man convicted of the rape and murder of Jill Meagher will be kept behind bars until he's at least 76.

Adrian Bayley
JUSTIN MCMANUS/ Fairfax
REPEAT OFFENDER: Adrian Bayley was out on parole when he raped and killed Jill Meagher last year.
Jill Meagher
VICTIM: Jill Meagher went missing when walking home from drinks with workmates.

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The Australia man who raped and murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum jail term of 35 years.

Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle said Adrian Ernest Bayley's offending was particularly heinous and made even worse because he had tried to conceal Meagher's body and raped and murdered the former ABC employee while on parole.

Justice Nettle said he believed Bayley intended to murder Meagher either because she was threatening to call the police after being savagely raped or because he took a perverse pleasure in taking her life.

The judge said the murder ranked as one of the worst ever committed in Victoria and Bayley had to be jailed for a very long time.

Justice Nettle said he had decided to impose a non-parole period of 35 years for Bayley to give him some incentive to try to rehabilitate himself in jail and he considered Bayley's guilty plea reflected some small degree of remorse.

Defence barrister Saul Holt, SC, had asked the judge to give Bayley a specific non-parole period so he had some hope of being released in the future.

Holt said Bayley should be allowed to walk free again at some stage because of his guilty plea, his remorse and the fact he agreed to take police to where he had buried Meagher.

Justice Nettle said Bayley had told psychologist Professor James Ogloff that he tried to kiss Meagher and touch her bottom in central Melbourne at 1.38am on September 22 last year.

The judge said Meagher reacted by slapping Bayley across the face.

Bayley told the psychologist he lost it and became outraged that she had rejected his advances.

Justice Nettle said Bayley was determined to have his way with Meagher and overpowered her and raped her where she stood. He described the rape as ''savage and degrading''.

The judge said Bayley strangled Meagher after she became angry, hit him with her mobile phone and threatened to call the police.

Bayley claimed he sat in the  laneway crying and panicking after he realised Meagher was not breathing.

Meagher's husband, Tom, her parents, George and Edith McKeon, and her brother, Michael, were in court as Bayley was jailed this morning.

Meagher's mother, who has not been well and did not attend Bayley's pre-sentence hearing last week, made the effort to be in court to see the man who took her only daughter from her punished.

George McKeon provided a short statement outside court at 11am on behalf of the McKeon, Meagher and Scott families shortly after Bayley's sentence was handed down.

"This despicable crime against Gillian has happened and it has taken nine months to get resolved and to get justice," the statement read.

"The police and prosecutors have ensured that justice has been done and we as a family want to thank them for this.

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"We have no sense of personal outrage just a feeling of great sadness and great loss.

"Gillian, forever young and forever in our hearts."

Bayley, 41, of Coburg, had been jailed in 2002 for 11 years with a non-parole period of eight years for attacking and raping five prostitutes in St Kilda between September 2000 and March 2001.

Bayley was released on parole on March 17, 2010,

He appeared in Geelong Magistrates Court in February last year and pleaded guilty to king-hitting a 20-year-old man, breaking his jaw and leaving him unconscious.

Bayley was convicted and sentenced to three months in prison, but then appealed against the sentence.

Because he was appealing, he was released from custody until the appeal could be heard which meant he was free to rape and murder Meagher.

Ogloff said Bayley was a violent sexual predator who had raped a 16-year-old girlfriend of his sister's when he was 18, before months later attempting to rape two teenage girls aged 17 and 16;  he had raped the five prostitutes when he was 29; and he raped and killed Ms Meagher when he was 41.

Ogloff said Bayley would now require ''intensive and ongoing intervention over an extended period before one would even begin to consider that the risks could have been reduced''.

In a record of interview tendered to the Melbourne Magistrates Court, Bayley told police he knew he was going to jail for a long time.

''I hope they bring back the death penalty before I get sentenced.

''I have no life left ... they should have the death penalty for people like me anyway.

''I can't believe that it - it went that way.

''I can't believe I've done what I've done.

''I don't care just - just charge me man, all right, I'll, I'll, I'll show you where she - I'll try and show you where she is.''

Bayley told police he just drove and ended up at Gisborne South.

''I just buried her. I buried her.''

Bayley started to cry when he told police: ''I strangled her.''

''What have I done? What have I done man?''

Bayley later told police he was crying when he buried Ms Meagher.

''I cried man, and I dug a hole.

''And I didn't cry for me, you need to understand that. I didn't cry for me, just like I'm not crying for me now.

''I'm crying for everyone that this has affected, not me.''

- The Age

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