HOW POLICE CAUGHT JILL MEAGHER'S KILLER
New doco reveals heartbreaking details
Brutally raped and murdered by serial rapist Adrian Bayley in 2012, the tragic death of 29-year-old Jill Meagher struck at the hearts of Australians. Now, a new ABC documentary has lifted the lid on the investigation into Jill’s death - and drawn attention to the tragic decision that allowed her killer to walk the streets.
The heartbreaking documentary Conviction shone the light on Australia’s flawed parole system, concluding Jill’s killer should never have been walking free that fateful night.
Previously jailed for raping six women, Bayley was given a minimum sentence of just eight years, despite a single rape carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years. It was this outcome that allowed him the opportunity to kill.
‘Had he been given even a cumulative 25 years – the maximum for one, not for the six, but one – then a further 13 [or] 15 women would not have been raped and Jill Meagher would still be alive because Adrian Earnest Bayley would still be in jail,' revealed Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies.
Speaking of the breakthrough interview that led to Bayley’s confession, Detective Sergeant Paul Rowe says Bayley initially thought he had gotten away with it, and it wasn’t until evidence was presented to him that he started to crack.
‘It’s a definite point in the interview where I could see his attitude, his demeanour and his complexion change. Once he realised that we had information that gave lie to his story, he became rattled, uncomfortable,’ Sergeant Rowe recalled.
‘When I told him that we had found Jill’s sim card at his home address it was a fairly significant moment from an investigative point of view.’
While it only took six days to catch Bayley, lead investigator David Butler revealed he still feels guilty about how poorly they treated Jill’s husband, Tom, at the beginning of the investigation when he was their number-one suspect.
‘It was necessary to do, but when you think about it down the track, you're left thinking: "Jeez, we were pretty awful, for the way we've treated this poor guy,”’ says Sergeant Butler, adding: ‘Not only has he lost his wife, but now he's been treated pretty badly by us in some respects.’
The investigation took its toll on many who were involved, with two members of the forensic squad who went to Jill’s burial site never returning to work.
‘The investigation was obviously very intense,’ says Sergeant Butler. ‘For me personally, I go home at night and I cry.’