Friday, September 28, 2012

Gillian's Murderer in Court

Fear and shock as suspect in Meagher’s murder faces court

On the short walk between a bar where she bid goodnight to a colleague and the Melbourne flat she shared with her husband, Gillian Meagher vanished into a nightmare. Now the man accused of raping and murdering her goes on trial.
On the short walk between a bar where she bid goodnight to a colleague and the Melbourne flat she shared with her husband, Gillian Meagher vanished into a nightmare.
Thomas Meagher started calling his wife, at 2am, wondering why the popular 29-year-old, known as Jill, had not returned home after Friday night drinks with her colleagues at ABC radio.
“I rang her like hundreds of times,” he said earlier this week.
“The phone rang, but went to voice mail, then at about eight in the morning the battery must have died since it just went straight to voice mail.”
He left their Brunswick apartment at 4am to search nearby streets in the dark.
Soon, missing persons posters were plastered everywhere and a massive social media campaign appealing for information attracted more than 120,000 Facebook followers.
Ms Meagher’s panicking family in Perth and overseas also made tearful pleas for assistance.
But six days after she was last seen, all hope was shattered.
Ms Meagher’s body had been discovered in a shallow grave, not far from a dirt road about 50km northwest of Melbourne.
Detectives have now laid murder and rape charges against a 41-year-old stranger who is expected to face a committal mention next year.
The suspect, a man in a blue hoodie, had been recorded by a CCTV camera at a bridal store as he tried to chat with Ms Meagher on Sydney Road, only 450 metres from her home, as she walked from a nearby bar.
“This is the worst thing we’ll ever go through in our lives,” Mr Meagher said on Friday outside a court appearance for his wife’s accused rapist and killer.
His wife’s family added in a statement: “We are devastated. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe how we feel at what has happened.”
Ms Meagher’s death has touched thousands across Australia and in Ireland, where she and her husband were born and met as university students before taking a world tour several years ago and ending up in Melbourne.
In a show of public grief, people began leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial where Ms Meagher was last seen on Sydney Road. Many said they were sad and scared. How could this happen so close to her home, on a busy, popular strip, in the most livable city in the world?
“It’s pretty sickening,” said Holly Edward, 22, who believed she had walked past the accused killer minutes before Ms Meagher disappeared, but had barely noticed him.
“We’re here to say goodnight to her, and sweet dreams,” said Heidi, 42, as she laid flowers and chocolates with her daughter outside the Duchess Boutique bridal store.
“It could have happened to anyone.”
Plans are under way to organise a “Reclaim the Night” rally in the inner-city suburb, when the grieving family is ready.
Co-organiser Natalie Pestana, 35, said people should not let the tragedy make them live in fear.
“It is horrifying, to be honest. And I’m really devastated that this has happened,” she said.
“We are allowed to walk alone and not be harassed or be told we were asking for it.”
ABC radio colleagues – even as they feel the pain of seeing an empty desk where their bubbly young co-worker once sat – are also calling for calm from the public.
“Its randomness is what is so incomprehensible about it,” said an emotional ABC radio host Jon Faine on Friday, holding back tears.
“(But) Jill’s death must not come to define us. That’s not what it’s like to live in the Melbourne I know.”
Ms Meagher had been a unit coordinator at ABC radio’s Southbank studios and is remembered as the beloved party planner of the office.
On Friday, 21 September, she enjoyed birthday drinks for several co-workers on Sydney Road, then had one last drink with her friend and colleague Tom Wright.
The pair left Bar Etiquette at 1.33am (AEST) on Saturday.
“I said, can I walk you home because it’s late at night,” Mr Wright recalled during a News Limited interview this week.
“She said: ‘No, no, I live around here. I know it really well. Don’t worry.’”
He asked again and she declined, so Mr Wright jumped in a cab while Ms Meagher continued walking by herself towards her home.
She paused a moment on the way to phone her brother in Perth at 1.43am, asking about their sick father.
That was a few moments after she and the man in a blue hoodie were caught on camera.
The phone call ended after two brief minutes.
And then she was gone.
Her handbag was found in a nearby laneway two days later, triggering a major homicide investigation.
“I’ve been really humbled by the support of the Australian public, the tireless efforts of the police and all the friends and family who have put their lives on hold to help us out,” Mr Meagher said on Friday as his brother-in-law Michael McKeon, stood nearby.
For Gillian’s husband and brother, a six-day journey of hope confusion had ended in horror.
When they sat next to each other in court on Friday, seeing the accused killer for the first time, the pair exchanged looks.
Mr McKeon leaned over and held Mr Meagher’s hand. – AA


emerald said...

This case illustrates routine activities theory. The choices that we make present opportunities for already motivated offenders to carry out their evil desires. Crime is present at the intersection of motivated offender, possible victim and the absence of a guardian (police, friend, etc.). This was a preventable crime. Its intrinsically heartbreaking when someone is murdered, doubly so when there are so many ways it could have been prevented.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Emerald, good point.

How we dress, how we conduct ourselves, where we are, and so on, all matter. What we claim as a right isn't always respected by criminals.

The sadness on this case is all around: the language that shows a broken relationship; being out at 1:30AM away from her husband, the amount of alcohol (?), and on it goes.

MissUnderstood said...

If anyone wants to light a candle or leave a message:

Vita said...

I found a presser with Jill's Uncle issuing an audio statement, from the family. Linked below.

Speechless, this young woman to lose her life to a sicko. As Emerald points out, yes this was preventable. Women need to pay attention, ** not blaming Jill ** that her murder is her fault.

When you are in a set routine, on auto pilot, repeating it day to day, week to week, people pay attention. People like this POS who confronted Jill on the street. That was probably not the first time he gained her attention, where it was verbal or not. He had a " glory moment" that she engaged conversation with him, she alone defenseless. He his body language I watched on the CCTV, his movements, he had her upon whatever he said to her. She to interact with him, his prose towards her, she was to do what? ignore him? walk around him? He I believe asked her a question that needed more than a Yes, No answer. She not thinking, he may have asked her for aid, gaining her sympathy at first. She to decline his offer? for him to walk with her? her response would not have mattered, he knew her routine, her path. If she appeared tipsy to him, all the better. She alone, no one around, she carrying her bags *keeping her arms occupied, she in high heels, was his perfect storm. She became his prey over how long? how long had he been watching her?

This where it is so important not to fall into a routine. That you change up your paths. Where it is going to work, leaving work, going to the gym, drive or walk a mixed connected way, change your days. Change it up from time to time. If you are being watched it will create the watcher, more efforts to track you, they will give up after time. Most stalkers are within your routine, this making it easy for them, they to find the thrill of the hunt, no work on his part needed, Oh it's 1:30am, she Jill, is exiting the bar, as she did every Thurs, there is the blond (coworker)hailing a taxi - it is that easy. I found this out years ago, working at a mall. I was 19, too naive to think I mattered I guess. Working in a major Dept store, I was moved around to different departments. I was moved to the Men's department and didn't pay attention to who was browsing, who was a frequent male that came in and didn't buy anything. Had a older male walked up to me, he straight up asked me for my phone number. I didn't respond, I flipped the script, asked him if he needed assistance with clothing. He didn't like that. Did I think to tell security? Nope. I didn't. I should have. I wasn't using my brain. He this man was daily, weekly floating the Men's dept, shopping me, not the clothing. He followed me home, my routine drive home, one day. He barricaded my driveway parked his car sideways, moments after I had got out of my own car. He came to the front door like an animal in heat, this mid day, my parents not home, they at work. He knew this. He knew my routine, he knew where I lived, he using his fists on the front door, screaming at me what he wanted to do to me, he enraged. He to say I know your alone,.. this before 911. I thank God to this day, we had massive front door with security. All I could do was call my Father at work. My Father didn't even wait for me to explain, he could hear the man screaming as I was under the kitchen table, whispering, crying, as I was terrified. Women take heed, teach your daughters as well, it is so important to pay attention, even the most obvious as this man was to me, I blew it off. Me thinking it was nothing. I think back to that day, that moment I saw his car land in front of my drive, he getting out, I saw him through the window, was the same man, who asked me for my phone number, over a month before. I think what If I was careless that day, walked in, and didn't lock the front door behind me. I probably would not be typing right now.

Audio of Jill's Uncle

BostonLady said...

I keep wondering why this case has affected me so much. It's touching on some internal feelings for me. I think it is because my daughter is almost Jillian's age and she can be so casual about situations that have frightened me. I get the "oh mom, come on it's not that dangerous". And then I start second guessing myself about being too over protective, worry too much. But my fears are not unfounded. And it is proven by what happened with Jillian.

If Jillian was in the bar all evening, her alcohol consumption was most likely high. Or, high enough that her judgement may have been skewed and so her guard was down. Like Vita pointed out above, the combination of alcohol, high heels, late nite, alone, the stalker obviously following her as he circled back to make contact all became a perfect storm. Jillian's life was lost in such a senseless violent fashion. This is not disparaging the victim. This is reality.

Women and men need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. It is the world we live in. I've shared that I travel a good deal for work and just being in the airport / flight I am very aware of people around me, especially after 9/11. In addition, being in a hotel in a strange city, safety is a concern. So maybe I am hyper aware but I don't think so.

I hope Jillian's husband and family can some day have peace. I can only imagine how much they are suffering with this loss of a bright, energetic family member at such a young age.

Lis said...

A quote from one article:

In the body of the court, the dead woman's husband, Tom Meagher, and her brother, Michael McKeon, sat through the latest episode of the worst week of their lives.

Their gentleness and dignity touched all who watched.

A reporter whispered later she had seen Michael hold his brother-in-law's hand, preparing him for when he would walk blinking into the camera flashes outside and find the words to speak about the unspeakable.

And another quote from another article:

"And while I really appreciate all the support I just would like to mention that negative comments on social media may hurt legal proceedings, so please be mindful of that. Please be mindful of that."

Jazzie said...

Thanks for the link

Randie said...

Thoms listed friends before family.

Randie said...

"the worst thing we’ll ever go through in our lives, I've been really humbled by the support from the Australian public, the fine efforts of police and all of the friends, family who’ve put their lives on hold to help us out."

His internal dictionary states:

1st public
2nd police
3rd friends
4th is listed last.

Light the Way said...


Perhaps the order indicated by Mr.Meagher's list
reflects the 'greatest appreciation' for the least known group (strangers) FIRST, because these are folks who he had no 'right to expect ANYthing from them at all.

Police mentioned second, because, although they are still 'strangers', it is their JOB to become involved and offer assistance.

Friends third because as personally knowledgeable of Jill and Thom they'd be expected to care.

Family listed LAST--not because they are 'least important' to Thom--just 'least important to ACKNOWLEDGE with formal thanks', since their care and assistance was expected without question, and could almost be "taken for granted".
Also, he is likely SURROUNDED by close family right now, and can thank them in person... making the public announcement of 'thanks' less imperative.

In this way, the order of Thom's list makes sense: He was MOST blown away by the UNEXPECTED support he received from people he didn't even know! JMHO