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Man charged over Meagher murder
The body of 29-year-old missing ABC employee Jill Meagher has been found by police approximately 50 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD.
Coburg man Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, was charged with Jill's rape and murder early this morning. He made a brief appearance at an out-of-sessions court hearing and has been remanded in custody.
The uncle of the late 29-year-old ABC employee who was allegedly abducted while walking home from a Sydney Road bar in Brunswick has issued the following statement on behalf of the family:
"We are devastated. We are heartbroken. She was the first grandchild my mother had and her aunts, uncles and cousins are powerless to describe their loss.There are no words to describe how we feel at what has happened. We had hope yesterday when there was no evidence of foul play but when the man in the CCTV footage was arrested we feared the worst."
"We acknowledge the role that social media has played in the search for her. We believe that it has helped us to reach a conclusion although it is not the one we had hoped and prayed for.
"We thank the people around the world who have supported us.
"Both the McKeon family and Meagher family will have to plan now to grieve for Jillian and this is going to be one of the hardest things given that only three years ago we came together for the marriage of this lovely couple."
WATCH: 3AW police reporter Yvette Gray from the crime scene:
Jill Meagher's remains were found in Black Hill Road, Gisborne South - about a 40-minute drive from where she was last seen in Sydney Road, Brunswick.
She was buried in a shallow grave beneath a tall leafy tree about five metres from a dirt road. The location is remote, surrounded by paddocks and about a 15-minute drive from the Calder Freeway.
Homicide detectives and forensic police spent about five hours processing the scene before her body was removed by the Coroner.
Sly of the Underworld told 3AW Breakfast the Homicide Squad Missing Persons Unit held major stragegy meetings prior Bayley's arrest in order to decide how he should best be dealt with. Sly said it was his understanding he was initially non-cooperative with detectives.
"After the police used certain methods that they're trained to do, he ultimately obviously decided to cooperate," he said.
"Certainly yesterday police were deciding exactly what to do and even the strategy on how to ultimately interview him."
MAP: The Duchess Boutique, where Jill Meagher was last seen and Black Hill Road, where her body was found:
View Jill Meagher in a larger map
Forensic police examine the site where Jill Meagher was buried.
(Photo: Tom Andronas)
"It's only accessible from a dirt road, and a couple of kilometres along that dirt road, on the right hand side underneath a large wattle tree buried in a shallow grave and when I arrived under a blue tarpaulin, lay Jill Meagher's body," 3AW reporter Tom Andronas told 3AW Breakfast.
3AW Court reporter Phil Johnson told Ross and John that Bayley was taken from the St Kilda Road Police Complex at approximately 10:00pm last night to the Gisborne crime scene where he allegedly assisted police with finding the body. He returned to the St Kilda Road Police Complex just after 1:00am today.
Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, charged with Jill Meagher's rape and murder.
(Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui)
Police allege Bayley raped and murdered Jill last Saturday morning.
Bayley sat in a chair at the out-of-sessions court hearing showing no emotion, with his chin in his hands through the 90-second hearing. He wore a blue t-shirt and jeans.
The bail justice told Bayley he could not apply for bail, and remanded him in custody to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court at 9:30am this morning.
3AW court reporter Phil Johnson told Ross and John Bayley would need to appear before a Judge of the Supreme Court and show exceptional circumstances in order to be eligible for bail.
LISTEN TO THE AGE'S CRIME WRITER 'SLY OF THE UNDERWORLD' THIS MORNING ON ROSS & JOHN FOR THE LATEST
10:30PM: Police say a 41-year-old Coburg man is expected to be charged with the rape and murder of 29-year-old Jill Meagher.
Detective Superintendent Brett Guerin confirmed the news at a media briefing late on Thursday night.
The man was arrested in Coburg at approximately 2:30pm yesterday.
He is expected to appear in an out-of-sessions hearing at the St Kilda Road police complex in the early hours of Friday morning.
Police said the man is continuing to assist investigators in locating the body of the ABC employee.
Media briefing on Jill Meagher case expected shortly. 41yo Coburg man in custody, at this stage no charges laid @3aw693— Yvette Gray (@yvettegray3AW) September 27, 2012
8:00PM: In a major breakthrough, Victoria Police have arrested the man in the hooded jumper from CCTV footage released yesterday over the disappearance of Jill Meagher.
The Age have reported Police have described Mrs Meagher's alleged abduction as an 'opportunistic, random attack'.
''It is a full-on homicide investigation,'' a police source told Fairfax Media.
The 41-year-old Coburg man was arrested this afternoon by Homicide Squad Missing Persons Unit detectives.
He is currently in custody at the St Kilda Road Police Complex assisting police with their enquiries. It's understood the man is not cooperating with Police.
The Age report that the man is the same one who appeared in CCTV footage wearing the blue hoodie however investigators are yet to confirm.
Mrs Meagher's whereabouts are still unknown.
Follow 3AW's comprehensive coverage of the disappearance of Jill Meagher below.
BREAKING: Police say they have arrested a man in relation to the disappearance of Jill Meagher.— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) September 27, 2012
RAW VISION: CCTV footage of Jill Meagher and passers-by police wish to speak to:
The 'mystery man' in the blue, hooded jumped whom police wish to speak to.
EARLIER: Homicide Detectives now strongly suspect Jill Meagher has been abducted as reports now emerge of new CCTV footage showing a car performing a sudden U-turn towards the missing woman.
One of the people pictured in the CCTV footage released by police yesterday has come forward, but says he doesn't remember seeing neither Jill Meagher nor the man in the blue, hooded jumper.
Daniel Gregson in the CCTV footage released by police yesterday.
"(I) certainly don't recall anyone acting suspiciously," Daniel Gregson told the 3AW Newsroom.
"There was a few people who had been at bars and pubs for a while who were making their way home."
Mr Gregson said he had clearly recognised himself in the footage and had been contacted by friends asking if it was him soon after Victoria Police had released the CCTV vision.
"If anyone was around at that time of (the) morning it's worth them having a chat to Crime Stoppers or the Police," he said.
Police have set up an information caravan in Brunswick as the search for the missing ABC employee enters its sixth day.
Police caravan set up on Sydney Road, Brunsick. (Photo: Lauren Hilbert)
Associate editor for the Herald Sun, Andrew Rule, told Neil Mitchell it's believed the shopkeeper who owns the additional footage came forward to police, and may possibly contain an additional man involved.
"This might be a total furphy and a red herring, and that might be one reason why the police are keeping it to themselves," he said.
"But it was after the police saw this that I believe they approached every trader in Sydney Road and obtained other footage including the one we're now seeing."
Andrew Rule said he believes Police think the footage released yesterday is their best shot at finding Jill Meagher, with Police now seeming to be convinced she did not make it home - ruling out any suspicious of a domestic incident.
"Senior police as late as Tuesday were suggesting, at least off the record, that something has happened between Hope Street and home, leaving it open 50/50," he said.
"By yesterday, they've said (they're) convinced she did not get home. I think the forensic tests done at the apartment totally bear out Thomas Meagher's statements.
"So the forensic tests have not pointed the finger of suspicion at him at all, in fact probably the reverse."
Andrew Rule said one of the men pictured in the footage has come forward who coincidentally has a mutual friend with Jill Meagher.
The man in the footage who looks over his shoulder to where it's believed Jill Meagher and the 'mystery man' in the blue hooded jumper are standing off-camera is yet to come forward.
Melbourne writer Catherine Deveny claims the man wearing a blue, hooded jumper in the CCTV footage of Jill Meagher released yesterday is the same man that tried to drag her off her bike as she rode along Sydney Road in July.
Ms Deveny said has told ABC Radio she reported the incident to Crime Stoppers before identifying the 'mystery man' in the footage to be the same man who approached her.
Ms Deveny said she was riding along Sydney Road at approximately 1:00am on a Sunday morning in July when a man who was standing out the front of a closed grocery shop on the corner of Albion Street tried to grab her bike.
GOOGLE STREET VIEW: Corner of Sydney Road and Albion Street:
"As I rode my bike along, he was on the footpath and he said 'excuse me', from quite a few metres away," she said. "I looked at him for a moment and I knew not to stop. I just thought, he seems a bit menacing and he seemed not at all in pain or anything, like he needed help."
"As I kept riding he moved towards my bike and tried to grab the mudguard and the pack rack, and I continued to ride."
Ms Deveny said the man was in his early 30s, had sandy hair, looked 'Norwegian', and was wearing the same blue hooded jumper and jeans as the man in the CCTV footage.
"I am here on the radio to try to tell anyone who thinks like me that they have a piece of information which is probably not useful at all," she told ABC Radio.
"I urge you, like people urged me and it took me ages to do it. When I saw the CCT footage after I'd done it I just thought, that's the guy."
Ms Deveny has declined to be interviewed by both the 3AW Breakfast program and Neil Mitchell program.
Victoria Police say there are seven people they wish to speak to urgently regarding the Jill Meagher disappearance as they release CCTV images of her moments before her disappearance.
Detective Inspector John Potter told a press conference the footage shows Jill outside the Duchess Boutique on 517 Sydney Road in Brunswick at approximately 1:40am on Saturday morning.
Former homicide squad detective Charlie Bezzina believes the CCTV footage is the most significant piece of evidence investigators have. Read his thoughts here.
Earlier this morning, Sly of the Underworld revealed there was a ‘mystery man’ police had identified in the CCTV footage in the same frame as Jill Meagher.
Anyone who knows any of the people pictured in the footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au immediately.
"What they have found is the image of a mystery man in the footage of Jill Meagher, the CCTV," Sly told Ross and John.
"And they are going through it virtually now, frame-by-frame.
"The question is, is this person just a random? Or is this person actually following her?"
GOOGLE STREET VIEW: The Duchess Boutique
Sly of the Underworld revealed on the 3AW Breakfast program that Police have discovered a 'mystery man' in the CCTV footage of Jill Meagher supplied to the police by a Sydney Road boutique.
Sly said the Police would be making a decision later this morning as to whether to release an image of the man captured in the CCTV footage. He suggested anyone that was in the area at the time the CCTV footage was captured at approximately 1:40am, contact Police to get themselves verified.
Police have said the husband of Jill, Tom Meagher, has been nothing but cooperative and there is nothing unusual about searching the couple's apartment.
Sly of the Underworld backed up the Police's statement, saying it would be 'totally remiss' of Police if they did not start the examination of the case at the beginning before working further out.
"You start and you look at the husband. This is not anything to do with this particular man, this is how you do these particular jobs," he said.
"He has been nothing other than cooperative. His behaviour has been that of a desperately worried husband."
Homicide Squad detectives believe they have identified Jill Meagher on CCTV footage in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Police say CCTV footage shows Jill walking north in Sydney Road, Brunswick, just south of Hope Street at approximately 1:41am.
Detective Inspector John Potter said the timing of the CCTV footage does not match with a previous assumption that Jill made a call to her brother from inside the bar.
"The mystery to the us at this point is the call to the brother was about 1:45am which is after this time (of the CCTV)," he said.
"And there were males in the background, or voices, or something in the background that the brother could hear.
"If there was something sinister happening at that point, presumably she wouldn’t be discussing the health of her dad."
Detective Inspector Potter said question marks still hang over the discovery Jill’s handbag which was not found in a laneway until Monday morning.
“The bag wasn’t sighted (during extensive searches on the Saturday), the bag was found by a local resident, that local resident hadn’t sighted the bag up until Monday morning, and by all accounts the bag was in relatively plain view," he said.
“That leads us to the possibility that the bag was put there early Monday or late Sunday night."
Police said all CCTV collected needs to be thoroughly analysed before detectives can make a determination on what images can be released publicly.
MAP: Corner of Sydney Road and Hope Street, Brunswick
Forensic police have examined the apartment of Tom and Jill Meagher in Lux Way as Homicide detectives widen their search.
It's understood Homicide detectives are again speaking to her husband Tom who has been considered a witness in their investigation.
Forensic Police at the apartment complex of Tom and Jill Meagher.
(Photo: Phoebe O'Sullivan)
The mystery surrounding her whereabouts continues to deepen after police revealed they are investigating whether her handbag had been planted in a nearby laneway after officers had searched the area over the weekend. It was discovered by a member of the public yesterday morning.
The Homicide Squad's Detective Inspector John Potter made an appeal for any people who were at Sydney Road's Bar Etiquette - the last place Jill Meagher was seen before her disappearance - after midnight in the early hours of Saturday morning, to contact Crime Stoppers.
Speaking with Neil Mitchell, Detective Inspector John Potter said Crime Stoppers had received in excess of 60 calls with information pertaining to Jill's disappearance, and they were encouraging more.
The Detective Inspector said given the fact her bank account hadn't been accessed and her mobile phone could not be located meant the Homicide Squad was fearing for the worst.
There is still conjecture over where Jill was when she made a phone call to her brother in Perth at approximately 1:45am on Saturday, with Police believing she made the call while still at Bar Etiquette.
Detective Inspector John Potter said they had not been able to identify where her phone currently is.
On the Facebook page created to help find Jill, a number of women have made claims of feeling threatened by a car following them near where she disappeared.
Detective Inspector John Potter said they are now investigating the claims, but urged any person feeling threatened at any stage to contact 000 (triple zero) immediately.
Associate Editor of the Herald Sun Andrew Rule told 3AW Breakfast there was 'no doubt' the Homicide Squad were thinking Jill had met with foul play.
"Every hour that goes past makes it more likely," he said.
"She's walked through a patch of Brunswick which I wouldn't want any relative of mine walking through it at that time of night."
Neil Mitchell confirmed the Victoria Police Homicide Squad had been called in to investigate Jill's disappearance.
Speaking with Neil Mitchell, Homicide Squad Detective Inspector John Potter said a handbag was found in a laneway off Hope Street. The bag contained Jill's identification.
"We always say in these circumstances, we hope for the best but unfortunately we expect the worst often," Detective Inspector John Potter said. "That's why we've become involved."
Jill Meagher's mother, Edith McKeon, has told The Age her daughter called her brother before she vanished. It's believed they were discussing the condition of their ill father.
WATCH: Edith McKean speaks with Fairfax Media:
Edith McKeon said her son, Michael, tried to call his sister back but the call went straight to voicemail.
A pair of missing shoes has been found this afternoon near Victoria Street and Ovens Street in Brunswick, however Homicide detectives don't believe they belonged to Jill Meagher.
Detective Inspector John Potter said the distance between Bar Etiquette, where she had been drinking with fellow ABC Radio employees, was approximately 700m from her home. He said preliminary enquiries suggested Jill's bank cards had not been used.
"We take on these cases of a suspicious nature where a person goes missing where there is a possibility they may have met with foul play," he said.
"We don't know that at this point, and we always hope that we can find her safe and well, but at this stage she hasn't responded to any of the media reports over the weekend, she hasn't contacted her husband, and he's (hasn't) been able to contact her by her mobile phone."
Earlier this morning, callers to 3AW Breakfast reported police activity in the area, prompting Police to set up a crime scene along a 200m stretch of Hope Street.
Police cordoned off Hope Street, Brunswick. (Photo: Yvette Gray)
The family of Jill Meagher, 29, are appealing for help to find her after she was last seen leaving Bar Etiquette on Sydney Road after some informal after-work drinks at around 1:30am on Saturday morning. She insisted on walking the short distance home alone, and hasn't been seen since.
A Facebook page has been set up to help locate Jill.
MAP: Location of the area Police have cordoned off to investigate Jill Meagher's disappearance:
The husband of missing Irish woman Jill Meagher says she was in high spirits on the night she vanished in Brunswick twitter.com/yvettegray3AW/…— Yvette Gray (@yvettegray3AW) September 23, 2012
Speaking with 3AW Breakfast, Jill's husband Tom Meagher said the walk home from the bar to their home was between five to 10 minutes, and he had rung her mobile non-stop from around 2:00am when she had failed to return home. The mobile phone is now switched off.
Tom Meagher said she had left her purse at home on Friday, and only had her savings account card with her.
Jill is described as being of a fair complexion, 165 cm tall, slim build, long curly black hair and brown eyes.
She was wearing a blue dress, black jacket, black patterned stockings and high heels.
Police say the disappearance is out of character, and investigators are in the process of determining whether the circumstances are suspicious.
Anyone who sees Jill is urged to call Triple Zero (000) and anyone with any information about her whereabouts contact Crime Stoppers.
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