The man who raped and murdered Louth native Jill Meagher in Australia in 2012 has been found guilty of three more rapes also carried out while he was on parole for a string of other crimes.
The new convictions have led Ms Meagher’s family to say the Victoria Parole Board “failed to protect our daughter and many others in the community”.
Adrian Ernest Bayley was on parole for other rapes when he raped and murdered Ms Meagher in September 2012. The then 41 year-old had also been jailed for three months for recklessly causing serious injury but had lodged an appeal and was on bail awaiting his appeal when he killed Ms Meagher.
In 2013, he was jailed for life but granted a 35-year non-parole period for the Louth woman’s killing.
However, in the aftermath of that verdict, his lawyers were granted a court order stopping him from being named in media as he appeared in court for three further rapes, some of which were also carried out while he was on parole.
According to The Age newspaper, the judge ordered the suppressions after Bayley’s legal counsel unsuccessfully argued that the trials should not go ahead because his notoriety meant the defendant could not get a fair trial.
Now having been found guilty of those attacks details can be published. His victims were two prostitutes and a Dutch backpacker, with two of the attacks happening in the months before Ms Meagher’s killing.
After the latest verdicts, the Meagher family issued a statement in which they said: “Nothing can bring back our daughter, but as was clear from the Callinan report, the Victorian Parole Board failed to protect our daughter and many others in the community.
“As a family, we have until now been very mindful not to make any statement or take any actions that might delay the outstanding criminal proceedings against Gillian’s murderer.
“However now that these proceedings are completed, we want to try and obtain closure and to ensure that other families don’t have to endure this trauma.”
Her parents George and Edith McKeon said in particular they wanted to continue to raise awareness of, what they said, was the systemic problem of violence against women “an issue we as a family and Tom Meagher (her husband), in particular, is very closely associated with in both his writings and his role as an ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign”.
They also said they did not want an inquest into the circumstances of their daughter’s death to proceed. They said little could be learned or gained from it.
In the report, former High Court judge Ian Callinan said authorities ought to have known when Bayley was on parole ahead ofkilling Ms Meagher he was “a recidivist serious, violent, sexual offender with a history of being so, from a young age, and with an established pattern of doing so”.
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