herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Jill's murder 'shocked the nation' – Australian mayor

TRAGIC Jill Meagher "galvanised" Australian communities, but her husband is a "broken man", Melbourne mayor Oscar Yildiz has said.

Mr Yildiz – the mayor of Moreland in Melbourne – is visiting Drogheda today to officially express condolences on behalf of his city.

Jill (29) was raped and murdered as she walked the short distance home.

Her husband Tom Meagher has remained in the Australian city but, this week, Mr Yildiz is meeting extended members of the McKeon and Meagher families, including Tom's parents. The mayor of Moreland said that Jill's death has affected the entire country of Australia.

And he is hopeful that some good will now come out of her passing.

"She has galvanised the entire community," Mr Yildiz said. "Over 30,000 people marched in disgust over what happened to her last year. And, this year, another group in September want to do the same thing.

"She has left a legacy. It has changed the look on all of our residents in terms of safety," Mr Yildiz said.

Memorial

"It is still very real. It is very hard to forget. It has shocked the entire nation," he added. Mr Yildiz will meet with Drogheda mayor Richie Culhane at an official event in the town.

The mayors of both towns are discussing a twin city relationship and want to establish a permanent memorial to Jill, including a foundation.

And Mr Yildiz said that he met with up Tom Meagher in Australia before he travelled to Ireland.

"I spent a fair few hours with him in a pub before I headed off. He is such a great human being."

"He is coming back (to Ireland) later this month to clear his head and touch base with his family. "He is an incredible human being. He is a broken man, but I just can't believe how tough it has been for him," Mr Yildiz said.

The mayor said that convicted rapist Adrian Bayley should not have been allowed to walk the streets.

And he commended Jill's husband's efforts to highlight the problems with the law in Australia.

"He (Bayley) missed four appointments with his parole officer three months before he murdered Jill. "He (Tom) is using the death of his wife to educate other people that this could happen to anybody."

hnews@herald.ie

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