MOMENTS FROM HOME A STRANGER STEPS IN

Thursday September 27 2012
– Life can turn on a split-second decision.
When Jill Meagher wanted to disengage from the mystery man who engaged her in conversation at 1:41am on Saturday, she called her brother, Michael, in Perth, where it was still relatively early.
She did not call her husband, Thomas, presumably because it was so late and she did not want to bother him when she was so close to home.
The kindly, cheerful Irishwoman had already waved off an offer from colleague Tom Wright to escort her home.
She seemed determined to get herself the rest of the way – almost certainly by walking west down Hope Street.
At least that’s the way it now looks to investigators, who yesterday released security footage of a man in a blue “hoodie” going out of his way to talk to the young woman wearing high heels and carrying a handbag.
After routine forensic tests of the couple’s apartment produced little to contradict statements by Thomas, the man in the blue top now seems to have the Homicide Squad’s undivided attention.
Watching the footage supplied by a boutique in Sydney Road near Hope Street, investigators were struck by what a senior policeman calls the man’s body language.
First the man is seen walking north past the shop – purposefully, as if heading somewhere. At that point he has just overtaken Ms Meagher, who left Bar Etiquette – a block south – eight minutes earlier.
But almost a minute later, the man returns – towards where Ms Meagher is approaching still out of camera range. His head up, he is walking more slowly, as if trying to engage her attention.
While both are still out of shot, south of the shop, they apparently share an exchange that makes another passer-by turn his head. That witness is one of five passers-by police want to talk to.
Almost two minutes after the man in the hoodie’s first appearance, he passes the camera a third time – walking slowly just ahead of Ms Meagher.
He gesticulates as if making a point – or to convince her of something. When she stops walking and produces her mobile phone, he stops too, looking back at her.
He then moves out of sight. A few minutes later, Ms Meagher follows – and this is the moment that makes a watcher wince.
It looks as if she thinks she has got rid of a pest by stopping to make the call.
Telephone records show she speaks to her brother for about two minutes. She asks about their father’s ailing health. During their talk he hears a male voice (or voices) in the background.
Until police find the man in the blue top they will not know what happened next.
All they know is that Ms Meagher vanished, probably in the next few minutes. Certainly before dawn.
Senior investigators last night told the “Herald Sun” they don’t believe she reached the couple’s apartment in Lux Way, a five-minute walk from Sydney Road.
But any suggestion that there is security film to prove this is wrong. The Meagher’s apartment block does not have security cameras, according to their neighbours and local estate agents.
Had there been footage from the apartment block – as suggested by a reporter yesterday – it would immediately have shown whether Ms Meagher had reached home. If she had, abduction or assault by a stranger would have been ruled out instantly.
Instead, her husband and her family have had to endure the unspeakable torment of not knowing what happened after 1:43am on Saturday. As the hours have turned into days, they have hoped for the best and feared the worst.
If the man in blue has nothing to hide, he should come forward and clear himself before police find him.
At least they have something to work with.
He did not have the hood over his head, even if the vision was partially obscured by shop fittings.
He appears to be of medium height and build, with short greying (possibly bleached) hair. He was wearing a darker shirt underneath the hoodie, blue jeans and white runners.
That Ms Meagher was carrying a handbag seems to fit the original fears she was attacked near a dimly lit lane where the bag was found on Monday morning, well after an earlier police search.
No one knows if the police missed it the first time – or if the attacker later planted it in the lane. Either way, it doesn’t matter much.
Only one thing does, now. To find the man in the hoodie.
But who knows what twist another day will bring? – Andrew Rule

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
This entry was posted in Homicide, Rape and Sexual Assault, Serial Rapists and Sex Offenders, Strangulation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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