The Horrendous Attack & Murder of Jill Meagher

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Gillian or Jill McKeon was born on October 30, 1982 in Ireland but the family moved to Australia when her father, George, got a job in Perth. The family returned to Ireland in 1996. 

Jill met her future husband, Tom Meagher (MAR) at university College Dublin in 2008 & the couple moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2009. After the move, Jill worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an administrative position & an occasional on-air role. She stayed in close contact with her parents and brother who were living in Perth. Jill was described as larger than life, incredibly funny, witty, intelligent & great company; someone who loved to have fun. Friends said she loved high heels & high fashion; she was very vivacious and social. Her mom described her as messy & goofy. The type of person who made other people happy.

On the night of Friday, September 21, 2012, 29-year-old Jill was out with her co-workers in Melbourne, celebrating a friend’s birthday. She had left the party with three co-workers at about 9pm that night & headed to the Brunswick Green, a bar on Sydney Road in Brunswick for a few drinks. To give you an idea of where Jill was, Sydney Road is a hipster area/arts community with plenty of trendy bars & shops. At 1am Jill and another co-worker went to Bar Etiquette which was just down the street, for a nightcap before heading home. Sometime around this point, Jill texted Tom to see if he wanted to join them but he had already fallen asleep. When they left about 1:30am, Jill’s co-worker offered to share a cab & drop her off at home, but she said she’d be fine walking, it was only a half mile away. She’d made this same walk many times before. 

Sadly, Jill didn’t make it home. At 2am Tom, Jill’s husband tried calling her but there was no answer. As the night faded into morning & there was still no sign of Jill, Tom’s worry grew, knowing it wasn’t like Jill not to come home or call. Tom continued to text and call and at 4am, on the morning of Saturday, September 22, Tom went out to search for Jill. When there was still no sign of her, he reported her missing to the police around 6am.

Tom spoke with Jill’s co-workers to try to figure out where Jill could be, but no one had seen her since they were out the night before.  By Sunday, a FB page had gone up as well as other social media posts & a small press conference was held that day. Within days, a FB page called Help us find Jill Meagher already had 100k likes.

On Sunday, September 23, police issued a public appeal for help. On Monday, the 24th, Jill’s purse was found off of Hope Street and the Melbourne homicide squad officially took over the investigation. The purse wasn’t there when they first searched the area; it was later found out that a local resident had seen it & taken it home. When this person saw the news of missing Jill, he put the bag back (it contained her work badge with her name & picture on it). 

Police know Jill was last at Bar Etiquette & figure she would have likely walked north along the west side of Sydney Road. They started pulling CCTV footage from the businesses along this route.

At 1:36am, CCTV footage caught Jill passing Crust Pizza on Sydney Road; she seemed to be walking at a normal but brisk pace, wearing very high heels. She passed a wedding cake shop and as she moved farther down the road, the hustle and the bustle of the bars & restaurants were now behind her & the road was much less populated here. 

CCTV footage watched her walk past the sagging sign of a real estate agency & thirty seconds later, a man in a blue hoodie was seen walking after her. After more close review, it appeared that this man had looped back around after seeing Jill walking, running at one point to catch back up with her. As Jill approached Duchess Boutique just before 1:38am, the man with the blue hoodie was visible in front of the shop. Moments later, Jill walked into the frame, stopped & interacted with the man. The last image of Jill on the footage in front of the boutique was recorded at 1:42am.

At 1:43am, Jill made a phone call to her brother, Michael in Perth; she was checking in because their dad had recently had a stroke. As they spoke, Michael could hear male voices in the background. After the two hung up, Michael tried to call Jill back, but it went to voicemail. 

On Tuesday, September 26, police searched Jill’s home and took their car for analysis. Tom was eliminated as a suspect fairly quickly but in the first 48 hours of the investigation, he was considered a suspect until ruled out. Those that knew Tom felt that this was absolutely impossible. Police released a statement and the footage of Jill walking north along Sydney Road on this day. The next day, a woman came forward and claimed to have seen the man in the blue hoodie running after Jill the night she went missing.  

Jill’s phone & bank card hadn’t been used since she was out on early Saturday morning. When police looked more closely at her phone, they could see it was in Brunswick where she was that night, until about 4:30am. From there, they could see  that it traveled north, likely along the freeway. When they looked at all the pings in that area, at that time; a well known sex offender’s car was pinging on the towers at the same time. This person was 41-year-old Adrian Ernest Bayley, a serial rapist who was out on parole at the time.

Police also saw Bayley on various CCTV footage in the day of the murder as well as after the murder. CCTV footage saw Adrian entering the Quiet Man Irish Pub at 7:28pm on Friday, the night Jill went out. His location from where Jill was at this point was 2.5 miles apart. Adrian was out with his girlfriend and the two got into a fight about his possessiveness & jealousy and she went to the bathroom & then slipped out, leaving in a taxi. At 12:24am, a camera at the Lounge Bar showed Bayley pacing up and down, holding the phone to his ear, trying to reach his girlfriend who wouldn’t respond. 

From here, he left & went home & changed into a blue hoodie and went back out, towards Sydney Road where Jill happened to be spending her evening. 

CCTV footage also saw him at a service station on Saturday, the next day, cleaning his car. On Monday he was seen at a shop to replace all 4 of his tires.

On Thursday, September 28, the police closed in & went to Adrian’s house.  The police interviewed him for ten hours & most of that time, he denied having anything to do with Jill’s disappearance. He said he had only heard about the case in news reports & hadn’t personally met Jill. As he was being interviewed at the station, his house was also being searched & police found Jill’s sim card in the washing machine, Bayley’s girlfriend unknowingly washing his clothes. This was the link that tied him to Jill. Six or seven hours into the interview, he confessed.

He said he was on the same street as Jill & saw her about 1:30am. He said she had been on the phone & when her phone call ended, he said he had nicely spoken to her & initially she was friendly too. He said she then turned nasty & flipped him off which angered him. When Jill turned off Sydney Road, onto a much darker & quiet Hope Street, he attacked her. He would later say that he hadn’t meant to hurt her, just rape her. Adrian raped Jill right off the street and then strangled her to death. For more than half of his life, he had been a violent sex offender, but this night, he became a murderer. 

He left her body where it laid in the street and went home to get his car & shovel. At 4:22am, he returned, put Jill’s body in the trunk of his car and drove to Gisborne South in Victoria about 30 miles away. He dug a shallow grave and buried Jill. 

After his confession, Adrian showed police where Jill was buried on Black Hill Road; police found that she was partially naked from the waist down in a grave that was only about a foot deep. Post mortem results showed that after she was violently raped, Jill had been strangled to death. On Thursday, September 28, Bayley was arrested.

The day after Jill’s body was found, 30,000 people in Melbourne came together to march along the street where Jill was last seen as an outpouring of grief & to protest that things needed to change & people needed to be protected from people like Adrian Bayley. Adrian’s Bayley’s name and face was plastered all over the internet when it was discovered that he was the killer; people were horrified when they learned of his background.

At the time of Jill’s murder, Bayley was on parole for raping 5 women in the bayside suburb of Elwood in 2002. Over a 23 year period, 11 of those years spent in prison, he was found guilty of 20 rapes. TWENTY!! Yet, he was freely walking along the streets of Australia. 

When Adrian was 18, he married his first wife and when she was pregnant, he committed his first rape at age 18; he raped a 17-year-old girl in his house who was a friend of his sister’s. Within a year, he raped two other women and was sentenced to five years in prison though only served 22 months before he was paroled. 

Bayley had two children with his first wife before they divorced in 1995. He remarried later that same year and went on to have two more children before another divorce. He stayed off the police’s radar for 6-7 years until 2000 when he started attacking sex workers; 5-6 women between 2000 and 2001. He was identified and questioned in 2001 and confessed, saying he considered the women worthless.  In 2002, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for 16 counts of rape against 5 women but was realeased in 2010 after serving 8 years. During his attacks, he followed the same pattern with each woman; he would pick them up, drive close to a wall so they couldn’t get out of the car & attack and rape them. He would then cry & apologize & sometimes even rape them again after the tears.

Before his attack on Jill, whie he was out on parole, Bayley viciously attacked a man outside a cafe, breaking his jaw and knocking him unconscious. For this, he was sentenced to 3 months in prison but appealed it which meant his parole was not revoked which was why he was free to walk the streets on the night he raped and murdered Jill. Had the justice system worked better, Bayley wouldn’t have been out on the streets & Jill would still be alive today.

Physically, Bayley was a very strong man though short in stature; he spent many hours working out at the gym. He didn’t have a menacing or alarming presence at first look, but those that knew him, knew that his temper was out of control. He was also very manipulating, convincing parole officers that he could be rehabilitated. He’s even lied his way through assessments with psychiatrists. 

On April 5, 2013, Bayley pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Jill. During his sentencing, he began to cry; not because he was remorseful for what he did, but because he didn’t want to go back to prison. It was believed that he had a borderline personality & took joy in humiliating women; it was all about power and control. 

Judge Geoffrey Nettle said, “This was a woman who was unknown to you, who you dragged off the street as she was going about her peaceful business. As a strong man, you physically dominated her and subjected her to a savage and degrading rape.”

Adrian was senteneced to life in prison with a 35 year non-parole period for the rape and murder of Jill Meagher; he’ll be 76 years old before he’s eligible for parole. In May of 2015, he was found guilty of 3 more violent rapes that he had committed before he murdered Jill. After three separate trials in 2014 & 2015, he was sentenced to an additional 18 years. In July of 2016, Bayley appealed against one rape conviction & was given a 3 year reduction, making him eligible for parole in 2055 when he’s 83 years old.

Coroner Ian Gray found, like many others, that Jill’s death was preventable: “A more rigorous, risk-adverse approach by Community Correctional Services  (CCS) and the Adult Parole Board (APB) would have led  to the cancellation of Bayley’s parole. The approach taken is difficult to understand. It  did not bring dangerous and high-risk parolees immediately to account.” 

Victoria’s parole system had been amended since Jill’s murder and had it been changed when Adrian was charged with the assault in Geelong, his parole likely would have been automatically cancelled. The Victorian government looked at the parole system to better protect people; now prisoners have to apply for parole & earn it before being released. Any prisoners with violent or sex offenses will now have added scruitiny from the parole board.

When Jill was murdered, it touched so many people, hitting close to home. Jill was a happy, young woman, living her life, out with friends, so close to home; it was something that just should not have happened. Tom Meagher said: “I think of the waste of a brilliant mind and beautiful soul at the hands of a grotesque and soulless human being.” 


  1. Wikipedia: Murder of Jill Meagher
  2. Timeline of Jill’s disappearance
  3. Shadowed by a killer: Jill Meagher’s final walk
  4. Chilling Crimes: Jill Meagher
  5. Irish Mirror: Timeline of Jill Meagher’s horror death at the hands of sex beast Adrian Bayley
  6. YouTube: Folks Documentary: Jill Meagher Murder Evil In The Night Australia Real Life Crime Documentary
  7. YouTube: True Crime Central: Jill Meagher: Crimes That Shock Australia: S3E10

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