NewsCrime Desk

'We've got this bastard' Aussie doc reveals how cops solved Jill Meagher's murder

Jill Meagher
Jill Meagher

A documentary set to air on Australian TV later this month will show how cops solved the brutal murder of Irish woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne in 2012.

'Conviction' will be broadcast on ABC on September 27, the fourth anniversary of the arrest of Adrian Bayley, the vicious sex offender who was ultimately charged and convicted of Jill's murder.

Jill, who worked for ABC, was killed as she walked home from a pub in the Brunswick area of the city on September 22 2012.

Through a series of interviews with those involved the documentary reveals how they detectives on the case went from investigating a missing person case to the arrest of the culprit for murder over five intense days.

The film reveals the stress on the police involved in the case due to the high-profile nature of the case, with two of the officers so affected by post-traumatic stress that they have yet to return to work.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald publishes a large preview of the doc, including quotes from many of those featured in the film.

The then head of the homicide team, John Potter, reveals that this case was unique for the police, saying:  "There was no doubt that the teams were under pressure. This wasn't any other job."

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Butler also features heavily in the doc as the man who headed up the investigation.

In quotes published in the SMH he reveals how Jill's husband Tom naturally became the first suspect, telling the filmmakers: 

 "When she didn't appear on the Monday, it really crystallised for me and I formed the strong view that she was probably dead.

"We were able to eliminate Tom reasonably quickly in this case. And the important thing with that was, let's say we never solved the case, the important thing with that is we can say 'Listen, it's not him, we've proven beyond any doubt that it's not him'."

However, Butler still feels guilty for having to quiz Tom about his wife's death.

"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. Not only has he lost his wife but now he's been treated pretty badly by us in some respects'," he says.

How Bayley was identified, questioned and eventually fingered as the person responsible for Jill's death is covered in great detail and the breakthrough moment, when a SIM card found in Bayley's home is identified as Jill's, is also recalled in the preview published today.

Murderer: Adrian Bayley

Acting Senior Sergeant Sharon Darcy is quoted as saying: "The elation in the room, just everyone was so pleased that we've got this bastard. That was the point where we knew that, yep 100 per cent, he's our man."

Bayley (44) was jailed for at least 35 years for the rape and murder of the Louth woman and in May of last year he was convicted of three more violent rapes and was sentenced to 18 years in jail for those crimes.

Chillingly Butler says that if they hadn't caught Bayley, he is sure he would have committed more heinous crimes.

"In my view had we not caught Adrian Bayley, he wouldn't have stopped and we would be dealing with a serial killer," he says.