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Australian homicide squad leads hunt for Irish woman

25 september 2012, 13:01
Australian homicide detectives on Monday took over an investigation into the disappearance of a young Irish woman in Melbourne after her handbag was found in a nearby street, AFP reports.

Jill Meagher, who works for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was last seen at about 1:30 am on Saturday when she left friends at a bar to walk the short distance home. She never made it.

"We take on these cases of a suspicious nature where a person goes missing when there's a possibility that they may have been met with foul play," Detective Inspector John Potter said.

"We don't know that at this point and we always hope that we can find her safe and well, but at this stage she hasn't responded to any of the media reports over the weekend, she hasn't contacted her husband, and he's (not) been able to contact her (on) her mobile phone."

The 29-year-old's handbag was found on Monday morning in a lane in Brunswick, the inner-city Melbourne suburb in which she lives, about 700 metres from where she was last seen.

Meagher's husband Thomas Meagher said he tried calling his wife, who works in administration at Melbourne local radio, repeatedly from 2:00 am to 6:00 am on the morning she disappeared, and began searching the streets for her at 4:00 am.

"I'm just trying to push on," he said.

"I just hope somebody saw something or she will just walk through the door."

The ABC described Meagher as "a highly valued and much loved member of the local radio team".

"Our thoughts are with Jill's family and friends during this very difficult time," the broadcaster said in a statement.

One of her ABC colleagues Tom Wright told the Herald Sun newspaper he had offered to walk Meagher home, but she insisted on going alone.

"I said, 'can I walk you home?', because it's late at night, and she said: 'No, no I live around here, I know it really well, don't worry'," he said.

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