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Difficult time for Jill's family as trial looms

THE family of murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher say they must "mentally prepare" for the harrowing trial of the man accused of her killing vowed to fight the charges

Drogheda native Jill (29) disappeared while walking home from a night out in the Brunswick area of Melbourne on September 22 last year.

Her body was discovered several days later in a shallow grave outside the city.

Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) appeared this week in Melbourne Magistrates' Court via video link for a brief committal mention, through which he remained mostly silent.

The court was told he insisted he would contest the charges of raping and murdering Jill on the night she went missing.



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Speaking from Drogheda, Jill's uncle Michael McKeon said the family cannot make any comment because the matter is before the courts.

"It could be six months before Jill's parents get to make any comment. The matter is back before the courts in March, it will be a difficult time," he said.

Jill's husband Tom Meagher is a native of Cabinteely. His father Kevin said they could not comment on the case either.

"I haven't spoken to Tom yet since the court hearing, but we can't really comment," he said.

Tom travelled back to Ireland after Jill's cremation in early October, and spent Christmas with his family in Dublin.

He returned to Australia this month to be there for the judicial process and the preparations for the trial of Bayley.

During last week's hearing, in which Adrian Bayley appeared via video, he spoke only to say "Yes I can, yes" after Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton asked him whether he could see and hear the court.

Mr Bayley sat in a video room at the Melbourne Assessment Prison, he was clean-shaven and in a black style shirt with no tie.

The judge granted a continuance of a suppression order banning damaging or potentially prejudicial material about Bayley being published, especially on social networking sites.

No application was made for bail. Bayley will appear for a two-day committal hearing on March 12.

cfeehan@herald.ie