29-year old Jill Meagher was going about her daily life on September 22, 2012 when a man with a lengthy criminal record took it all away from her. That night, she had gone out with some friends after work for drinks. On the short walk back to her apartment, she encountered serial rapist Adrian Bayley.
CCTV would capture Bayley approaching Jill on the street at 1:40am. She had her mobile phone in her hand. His face was obscured by the blue hoodie he was wearing. When Jill didn’t make it home that night, her husband began to search for her, eventually contacting the police. She was officially a missing person at that point, but soon the awful truth would become clear: Jill had been brutally assaulted and murdered by a repeat offender out on parole.
On top of the horror of Jill Meagher’s rape and murder at the hands of Adrian Bayley, one other disturbing fact was exposed: the state’s parole system was broken. How could a man found guilty of 20 rapes in a 23-year time span be allowed to roam the streets of Melbourne’s suburbs after smashing the jaw of another man while on parole?
At the time of Jill’s murder, Bayley was on parole after serving eight years in jail for 16 counts of rape against five women. He had already served time before for rapes committed from the time he was just 18. It made the tragedy of Jill’s murder even more senseless.
At the quiet end today, we’re talking about a beautiful person whose life was violently taken by an evil, repeat offender. Jill spent her last day doing what many of us do—working in a job she loved, enjoying a few drinks in the company of friends, and making her way home on a well-traveled street just blocks from her home. So, what went wrong?