Meagher accused appears before packed court

September 28, 2012 • Local, News, Victoria,

Tom and Jill Meagher on their wedding day in Wicklow.

Tom Meagher has attended Melbourne Magistrates Court for the appearance of a 41-year-old man accused of his wife’s murder.

Adrian Ernest Bayley appeared before a packed courtroom, charged with rape and murder of 29-year-old Drogheda woman, Jill Meagher.

Her brother Michael McKeon held Tom Meagher’s when entering the courtroom.

Bayley has been remanded in custody to appear before the court again for a committal mention on January 18.

After his arrest yesterday, the Coburg man was brought before a special court sitting in the early hours of this morning where he was charged over the disappearance Ms Meagher last Saturday.

Police investigating her disappearance say they found her body in a shallow grave at the side of a road in South Gisborne, almost 50km north-west of Melbourne.

Forensic analysis of the scene is ongoing.

Tom Meagher addressed the media following the brief court session.

“Despite the fact that this is the worst thing that we will ever go through in our lives, I’ve been really humbled by the support of the Australian public, the tireless efforts of the police and all the friends and families who’ve put their lives on hold to help us out,” he said.

He added: “While I appreciate all the support, I would just like to mention that negative comments on social media may hurt legal proceedings, so please be mindful of that.”

Ms Meagher, from Drogheda, Co Louth, was last seen leaving a bar in Brunswick in the early hours of Saturday after a night out with colleagues.

CCTV footage that was released on Wednesday is understood to have led to the accused’s arrest.

A groundswell of support through social media is also said to have helped.

However, police have also urged caution regarding comments about the case on social media platforms.

Victoria police tweeted: “Please remember posting comments which endanger the presumption of innocence can also jeopardise a trial.”

Meanwhile, the Facebook page Help us Find Jill Meagher – set up on Saturday to aid the search for Ms Meagher – also posted an appeal for restraint.

“Please remember that it is inappropriate to post speculation or comments about matters before the courts. We ask you to refrain from posting anything on social media which could jeopardise or endanger the presumption of innocence, as this has the very high potential to interfere with the administration of justice,” it said.

:: ‘Devastated’

In a statement released in Ireland overnight, Ms Meagher’s uncle Michael McKeon relayed the family’s raw grief.

“We are devastated. We are heartbroken,” Mr McKeon said.

“She was the first grandchild my mother had, and all her aunties, uncles and cousins are powerless to describe their loss.

“There are no words to describe how we feel at what has happened.

“We acknowledge the role that social media has played in the search for Jill.

“We believe that has helped us in the search, but it’s not the outcome that we had hoped and prayed for.

He thanked those who had supported the family since last Saturday and said the family would now plan to grieve for their loss.

He added: “This is going to be one of the greatest, hardest things given that only three years ago we came together for the marriage of this lovely couple.”






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