Man charged with Jill Meagher murder, Irishwoman missing in Australia


Boats float in St Kilda Harbour on August 14, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.


Scott Barbour

The body of Jill Meagher, an Irishwoman living in Australia who disappeared almost a week ago after a night out in Melbourne, has been found - and a man charged with her rape and murder.

The case of Meagher, originally from Drogheda, has captured the nation's attention, with the local and foreign media reporting each development in the case. 

Adrian Ernest Bayley, a 41-year old from Coburg, was charged early on Friday morning, and was remanded in custody to appear in a Melbourne Court later today, Sky News reported.

Ms Meagher's body was found yesterday off a dirt road in Gisborne South.

The breakthrough in the case came after police released CCTV footage, which showed the ABC radio employee as she walked outside a bridal dress shop - within 450 metres of her home - about 1.40am on Saturday.

Police sources confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald a man in the footage is the alleged offender.

Bayley appears to have been captured wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt in the CCTV footage, just minutes after Ms Meagher left Bar Etiquette.

He appears to have a conversation with Ms Meagher before they both disappear from the frame. She appeared reluctant to engage.

According to the Fairfax media, Meagher's home is less than half a mile from Bar Etiquette, in the inner-city neighborhood of Brunswick, where she was last seen at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday during a night out with co-workers.

She had declined a friend's offer to walk her home. 

She was reported as missing by her husband, Thomas, originally from Dublin, later on Saturday.

According to the Fairfax media, Meagher — who arrived in Australia three years ago — worked for the ABC, Australia's public broadcaster, as a member of the Local Radio Victoria team.

The BBC cited Detective Sergeant Steve Bull as saying that Meagher's disappearance was out of character.

"We have concerns for her safety. We are making an appeal to the public for anyone who might know Gillian's whereabouts or if Gillian sees us, if she could contact us and let us know she's alright," he said.

According to London's Daily Telegraph, co-workers paid tribute to Meagher on Tuesday.

Melbourne radio host Jon Faine said on air: "She's the life of the office. We cannot believe that this has happened to someone to who's one of our team here ... It's awful, it's just plain awful."

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