Meagher murder among worst of crimes: judge

For Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle, the brutal rape and murder of Jill Meagher as she was walking home after a night out with friends was one of the worst crimes imaginable.

Sentencing Adrian Ernest Bayley to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years on Wednesday, Justice Nettle said Bayley was a sexual deviant who had intended to murder Meagher, 29, either because she was threatening to call the police after being savagely raped or because he had taken a perverse pleasure in taking her life.

The judge said Bayley’s offending was particularly heinous and made worse by his attempts to conceal Meagher’s body and the fact he had raped and murdered the ABC employee while on parole.

Justice Nettle said the murder, in terms of moral culpability, ranked ”among the worst kinds conceivable” and Bayley had to be jailed for a very long time.

”You were larger and stronger than she and you used that physical advantage to dominate her,” the judge told Bayley.

Meagher’s husband, Tom, her parents, George and Edith McKeon, and her brother, Michael, sat in court metres from Bayley, who was seated in the dock flanked by five security guards, to watch him being sentenced.

Outside the court in Melbourne George McKeon said: ”Jill lived a life full of family, friends and her beloved Tom. Jill was brutally raped and murdered and is never coming back … Police and prosecutors, we thank you.”

Justice Nettle said Bayley told psychologist James Ogloff that he had tried to kiss Meagher and touch her bottom outside a Brunswick laneway off Sydney Road at 1.38am on September 22 last year.

Meagher stepped back and slapping Bayley across the face. Bayley told Professor Ogloff he lost it and became outraged that she had rejected his advances.

Justice Nettle said Bayley was determined to have his way with Meagher and overpowered her and raped her where she stood.

Bayley strangled Meagher after she became angry with him following the rape, hit him with her mobile phone and threatened to call police. He claimed he later sat in the laneway crying and panicking after realising Meagher was no longer breathing.

The judge said psychological testing had revealed Bayley was not a psychopath but had a borderline personality disorder that manifested in rapid and extreme mood swings and, in particular, poorly controlled anger.

He said Meagher’s rape and murder had had ”profound, terrible effects on the lives of other people”.

Justice Nettle saw little reason to suppose Bayley would be rehabilitated, and set a non-parole period of 35 years as an incentive to try.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.