Adrian Bayley will likely die in jail. And we are all safer for it.

Good riddance.

There is something especially chilling about being in the presence of Adrian Bayley.

Adrian Bayley will most likely die in jail.

As a court reporter, I spent every working day for two and half years in courtrooms with criminals. Some days it would be a serial killer. Other days, a child killer. Wife killer. Child molester. Drug trafficker. Thug.

Many of those cases have merged in my mind.

But the memory of sitting in Court Four at the Victorian Supreme Court on the morning of 19 June 2013 – only two metres from both Bayley in the dock and Jill Meagher’s devastated husband and parents in the tightly packed rows of chairs behind him – is burned into my brain.

Jill and her husband, Tom, in happier times.

Watching the judge sentence Bayley to life imprisonment for the horrific rape and murder of Ms Meagher is something I will never forget.

Family and friends sobbed openly in the body of the court. Seasoned court reporters were reduced to tears – some even left the court round after this case.

Related: Tom Meagher reveals his “unhealthy obsession” with his wife’s killer.

There was a macabre sense that the whole community was invested in this sentence, united in a desire to see the evil Bayley locked away.

The victim was our Jill. She worked at our ABC. She hit up the same bars as us for Friday night drinks. We knew her name. We marched for her. And, because a violent rapist was on parole when he shouldn’t have been and randomly picked her as his next victim, we let her down.

This image was shared far and wide when Jill was missing.

And locked away he was – at most for life and, at least, for 35 years before he would be eligible for parole.

Yesterday, the 43-year-old’s minimum term was extended to 43 years after three more rape victims came forward following Ms Meagher’s murder.


It wasn’t until these women saw Bayley’s picture on the news that they could identify the man from their own horrific attacks.

This brought the total number of women (and teenage girls) Bayley has been convicted of sexually attacking to 12.

Recently, his former housemate said he’d once caught him raping another woman, but she refused to formally complain to police.

The truth is, there could be many more out there.

Adrian Bayley being led into the Supreme Court.

Now Bayley’s earliest release date is May 2058.

He would be 86 by the time the question of whether the serial parole-breaker should be released even came across the desk of the parole board.

The judge yesterday acknowledged she had effectively extinguished any glimmer of hope that he would ever see the outside world again, a process started long ago by Bayley himself.

He will likely die in jail. And I feel safer for it.

I can’t put my finger on what is so much more unsettling about being in Bayley’s presence than that of other criminals.

It is more than knowing the degrading and humiliating way in which he treated his victims.

Perhaps it is the thought that Bayley – a man that has fathered four children– is someone you wouldn’t have given a second glace to as you passed him on the street.

Or maybe it is the way he so casually went about his life as he destroyed those of 12 women, seemingly without batting an eyelid.

This evil killer looks just like a normal guy.

There is something undeniably chilling about a man who eats kebabs with his girlfriend just hours after fatally attacking a woman and, after seeing a news story about his missing victim, tells his girlfriend that’s why she shouldn’t walk alone at night. It’s an image that conjures up terrifying urban myths that end with ‘the call is coming from inside the house’.


Or perhaps it’s Bayley’s self-entitled belief that he can just snuff out the life of an innocent woman because she “flipped him off” and that enraged him. “I didn’t take well to her response,” he told police, implying that had she not stood up for herself, she might still be alive.

Through his numerous vile crimes, both before and after his three earlier stints in prison, Bayley has shown he is unable to be rehabilitated. A forensic psychologist stated his prospects of rehabilitation were “very guarded indeed”, something that is not decided lightly.

We marched for Jill. The public outrage sparked by her death led to a tightening up of Victoria’s parole system.

We all hope that yesterday’s court appearance is the last we see and hear of Bayley. But it’s unlikely.

He has one month to lodge an appeal against this sentence. And why wouldn’t he use his last opportunity to have an excursion from the confines of his cell? In the courtroom, everyone talks about him and his rights. He has a (taxpayer-funded) lawyer in his corner, he is waited on by court staff with cups of water and he is referred to as “Mr Bayley”, despite the fact he is far from a gentleman.

Back at prison in protective custody he has 23 hours a day alone in his cell. The prison population is out to get him, not only for his shocking crimes, but also because they blame him for the radical changes to the parole system that will make it more difficult for them to be released.

Whether it’s due to spending more than four decades trapped in a cell or the punishing rigors of prison life, he is unlikely to make it out of there alive.

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