TWISTS AND TURNS ON THE MEAN STREETS – Wednesday September 26 2012

– What a difference a day makes to a homicide investigation.
On Monday the police hunt for the missing Jill Meagher concentrated on streets she might have used to walk home from a Sydney Road bar in the small hours of Saturday morning.
Police ran crime scene tape across half a dozen streets and lanes in one seedy light-industrial block, apparently spurred on by the discovery of her handbag in a narrow side street early on Monday.
But by yesterday morning things had changed.
None other than the Chief Commissioner cast doubt on whether it was Ms Meagher who dropped the bag the night she vanished.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay hinted the bag might have been “planted” by an unknown offender in an attempt to distract investigators – who, he said, had already searched the area where the bag turned up.
But the Homicide rule-book states that before widening the search, detectives first have to eliminate the people closest to the missing person.
That means the proud young man, photographed with his bride in the good times they shared, now has to endure the routine procedure of being treated like a potential suspect.
Within three hours of the chief’s cryptic statement, the search had swung from the mean streets where the bag was found to the nearby modern apartment block where Tom and Jill Meagher have lived for about a year.
Just after midday two homicide detectives had returned to the Meagher’s first-floor apartment to run the worried young husband once more through the exact sequence of events in the hours his wife vanished.
Then the cavalry arrived.
Two vans parked on a nearby council reserve. In them was a team of four forensic crime scene analysts, dressed head to toe in blue protective clothing and carrying a pile of oversize empty paper bags.
They, too, trooped upstairs into the rear apartment on the first floor.
They did not use the lift that takes residents and their shopping or luggage up and down from the ground-floor internal car park enclosed under three residential floors.
The apartment was so full of forensic specialists looking for clues that Tom Meagher and his wife’s brother, Michael McKeon, had to sit outside on the balcony at the rear.
For more than two hours the pair sat in glum silence, fiddling with their mobile telephones. They were joined at one point by a female detective wearing rubber gloves.
Mr Meagher was showing the strain of four days of hell. He appeared not to have shaved since the weekend and his eyes were red.
Earlier, before the forensic team started combing the apartment, he and his brother-in-law had put on a brave face by laughing and joking with camera crews outside the apartments.
There was no joking by 4pm when the forensic team finally emerged with half a dozen brown paper bags, all full.
Police said no evidence was taken from the flat, but it looked as if a lot of material had been removed for testing at the forensic laboratories at Macleod, which has high-tech equipment to test DNA and fingerprints.
Early in the day, Tom Meagher told the “Herald Sun” he would consider talking about his ordeal.
But he later got in touch to say he would be too busy going through some details with the police.
While investigators combed the Meagher’s apartment yesterday, their colleagues pinpointed security camera footage of Jill Meagher taken at 1:41am on Saturday morning in Sydney Road, just south of Hope Street.
This tallies with information from the staff at Bar Etiquette, the fashionable nightspot where the beautiful and popular young Irishwoman had a last drink after a long night out with colleagues from the ABC radio studios in Southbank.
Bar Etiquette staff stopped serving and locked the door to new customers at 1am.
But it let existing customers out over the following half hour or so.
It seems beyond doubt Ms Meagher left the bar just after 1:30am and walked north up Sydney Road, apparently alone. She had earlier told work colleague Tom Wright she was happy to walk home alone after he twice offered to escort her.
Sometime after that, she vanished.
The investigation is continuing – 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.
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