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