In the early morning of 22nd September 2012, 29-year-old Jill Meagher, a journalist from Ireland who lived in Australia, was raped and murdered as she walked home from a pub in Brunswick, Melbourne.
At around 1.30am, Meagher’s friends had offered to walk with her, but she refused, as the route home was one she had walked many times.
Footage of Meagher was captured by CCTV, which depicted her speaking to a man in a blue hoodie at around 1.45am, this was the last time Meagher was seen alive.
After she failed to return home that morning, her husband Tom Meagher notified police and the search begun.
On Monday morning, police found Meagher’s handbag located near where she was last seen. The bag contained her cards and ID, however her phone remained missing. Police suspect the bag was ‘planted’ as the area had previously been searched.
Six days after Jill Meagher was last seen, police arrested 41-year-old Adrian Ernest Bayley after discovering Meagher’s phone sim card in his house. Later, he lead them to her body, buried in a shallow grave roughly 50km from she was last seen. At the time of the incident, Bayley was out on parole after serving an eight year sentence for 16 counts of rape against five women.
He had already served time for rapes committed from the age of 18.
Adrian Bayley was arrested for the rape and murder of Jill Meagher on 28th September, 2012. On June 19th, 2013, Bayley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 35 years. In March 2015, He was found guilty of three more rapes, committed before he killed Meagher, in three separate trials held in 2014 and 2015. He was later sentenced to an additional 18 years. In July 2016, the sentence was reduced to 40 years. Bayley will be eligible for parole in 2055.
“Holy crap,” I said. While staring off at Rose and Dimitri, a brilliant flash had caught my eye—a flash on Rose’s finger.
“What’s that?” I exclaimed. “Did you rob Lissa’s crown jewels?”
Rose, in what was a rare look for her, actually appeared flustered. “Maybe it’s too much.”
Dimitri brought her hand up to his lips and kissed the top of it. “No, it’s perfect.”
Jill clapped her hands in delight. “An engagement ring!”
“Hold up,” I ordered. “Show the goods.”
With Dimitri grinning, Rose complied, holding out her left hand for the rest of the table to see. It was a remarkable piece of work. A large, perfectly cut round diamond was set into a lacy square of platinum filigree that was edged in tiny blue opals. It was a statement ring if ever there was one, and a wholly unexpected choice.
“Did you pick that out?” I asked Dimitri. Honestly, I would have expected him to bend a piece of steel with his bare hands and present her with that.
“He did,” said Rose, her normal good humor returning. “He kept telling me that once I turned twenty, it was just a matter of time before he proposed. I told him if he did, he better make it a rock star ring—nothing subtle.”
“That’s pretty rock star,” said Eddie. “How long ago did this happen?”
“About a month,” said Dimitri. “I got her to wear it but can’t get her to set a date.”
She grinned. “All in good time, comrade.”
Once Adrian had been dropped off, Eddie relaxed and shook his head.
“Man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Adrian so mad. Actually, I’ve never actually seen Adrian mad at all.”
“He wasn’t that mad,” I said evasively, eyes on the road.
“He seemed pretty mad to me,” said Angeline. “I thought he was going to jump up and attack Dimitri.”
Eddie scoffed. “I don’t think it was going to quite reach that point.”
“I dunno,” she mused. “I think he was ready to take on anyone who messed with you, Sydney.”
I continued to stare ahead, refusing to look at any of them. The whole encounter had left me feeling confused. Why had Adrian protected me? “I offered to do him a favor next weekend,” I said. “I think he feels like he owes me.”
Jill, sitting beside me in the passenger seat, had been quiet thus far. With the bond, she might know the answer. “No,” she said, a puzzled note in her voice. “He would have done it for you regardless.
What was love, really? Flowers, chocolate, and poetry? Or was it
something else? Was it being able to finish someone’s jokes? Was it
having absolute faith that someone was there at your back? Was it
knowing someone so well that they instantly understood why you did the
things you did—and shared those same beliefs?
My friends here in Palm Springs knew about Sydney and me. They were the only ones in the Moroi world (or the human world that shadowed the Moroi) who knew about our relationship. They felt bad for what had happened for my sake and also for hers. They’d loved Sydney too. Not like I did, of course, but she was the kind of person who was fiercely loyal and inspired deep bonds in her friends. “I miss her too,” Trey said softly.
“Look at him!” squealed Jill when I came down the stairs. “He’s gotten so big.”
Even Rose and Dimitri got into the baby admiration. Whereas we’d seen Jill recently, it had been months and months since their last visit. Declan was probably a giant to them. “We should’ve brought him a silver stake,” Dimitri said. “I’m surprised Eddie hasn’t taught him already.”
Eddie, his arm resting on Jill, smiled. “We work on it right after morning nap.”