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Life Sentence

Jill Meagher's rapist and killer jailed for at least 35 years

Adrian Bayley was told by the judge that he had “little compunction about sexual offending when the mood took”.

THE MAN WHO raped and killed Irish woman Jill Meagher in Australia has been jailed for at least 35 years.

Adrian Bayley was sentenced at a hearing at the Victorian Supreme Court in Melbourne this morning with Justice Geoffrey Nettle handing down a life sentence for murder and 15 years for “a savage violent rape of the worst kind”.

Jill Meagher was reported missing last September when she failed to return from a night out with work colleagues. Her body was found six days later in a shallow grave about 55kms from where she was last seen alive.

Bayley has a string of previous convictions for sexual and violent offences but had been out of prison on parole at the time of the brutal attack. ABC News reports that Bayley will be 76 years old before he becomes eligible for parole again.

According to The Age, the judge told the 41-year-old that the rape was “savage and degrading”.

You were larger and stronger than she and you used that physical advantage to dominate her.

“In effect, you dragged her off the street, late at night while she was peaceably going about her own business within a stone’s throw of her home.”

He had told a psychologist that he “lost it” when Jill Meagher refused his advances when they met at a Brunswick laneway in the early hours of 22 September. He strangled her as she tried to fight him off and threatened to call the police.

It was revealed during the hearing that the convicted man has attempted to take his own life since the crime. The “small degree of genuine remorse” kept him out of the worst category of offender, the judge said, but he also noted that it was not the first time he had been found guilty of violent sexual offences.

“As your criminal record reveals, you are a recidivist violent sexual offender who has had little compunction about sexual offending when the mood takes you, or about threatening and inflicting violence as part of the process.

You strangled Gillian Meagher with intent to kill her either because she would otherwise have called the police or because of some form of perverted pleasure which derived from taking her life.

“In terms of moral culpability your killing of the deceased ranks among the worst kinds conceivable and that you must be sentenced accordingly.”

Justice Nettle added that he deprived a young, vibrant and talented woman the “best part of her life”.

“You have also deprived her husband of her love and companionship and the prospect of the children to which they looked forward together.

“You have stolen from her parents their entitlement to see their daughter blossom and mature as they grow old and to bear the grandchildren to which they looked forward. And you have taken away from her brother the love and support of his only sister.

“Each of their victim impact statements tells of grief and a sense of loss and dismay, which, for those of us who have not experienced it, can only be imagined. The sentence I am to impose on you must have regard to the suffering you have caused them.”

The 29-year-old Louth woman lived in the Australian city with her husband of three years Tom Meagher, who attended today’s hearing. Her parents, George and Edith McKeon, are resident in Perth but were also present in court today with their son Michael.

“Jill lived a life full of family, friends and her beloved Tom. Jill was brutally raped and murdered and is never coming back,” her father told reporters outside the courthouse, adding that “justice has now been done” and thanking police and prosecutors.

George McKeon. (Image: ABC News/Screengrab)

Read: Families of murder victims unhappy with sentencing and bail laws

Related: Parole law changes mean Jill Meagher killing ‘couldn’t happen today’

More: Adrian Bayley was on parole when he raped and killed Jill Meagher

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