The husband of murdered rape victim Jill Meagher has hit out at the sentence handed down to her killer Adrian Bayley, saying his wife would still be alive if the justice system had taken the serial sex offender off the streets.
Bayley pleaded guilty to the fatal attack on the 29-year-old ABC staffer as she headed home from a night out in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick last September.
The 41-year-old, who has a long history of violent attacks on women, was today sentenced to life for the murder, and 15 years for what the judge described as "a savage, violent rape of the worst kind".
In his first interview since his wife was killed, Tom Meagher has told the ABC's 7.30 program that the rape sentence was not long enough.
"Given what this man has done in the past, I think that 15 years is a disgrace, considering the maximum penalty for rape is 25," he said.
"I don't know what the maximum penalty is for if it's not for that man? Who else could fit the bill of a maximum sentence for rape than Adrian Ernest Bayley?"
Mr Meagher says when he heard about Bayley's sentencing history, it made his blood boil.
"This man is unrepentantly evil. He's been let off too many times by our justice system."
Bayley was first jailed in 1991 for sexual assault and served just 22 months of a five-year sentence.
In September 2000 he was jailed for a minimum of eight years for the rape of five prostitutes over a six-month period.
Mr Meagher says he is concerned the justice system treated the attacks on the sex workers differently than the attack on his wife.
"I'm aware his previous victims in previous cases before Jill were sex workers, and I'll never be convinced that doesn't have something to do with the lenience of his sentence," he said.
"Put it like this: if he'd raped five people like Jill that many times in that brutal a fashion, I don't think he would have served eight years in prison."
He says that "sends a disturbing message".
"What it says to women is if we don't like what you do, you won't get justice," he said.
"And what it says to people like Bayley is not 'don't rape', but 'be careful who you rape'."
Bayley was on parole for assaulting a man in Geelong when he killed Ms Meagher.
The ABC understands the attack did not raise alarm bells with the parole board as it was not a sex crime.
Mr Meagher says the justice system failed his wife and her family.
"I think the number one priority [of the parole board] should be to protect the innocent. That's what they didn't do in this case and that's why Jill's not here," he said.
He says he is still trying to come to terms with his wife's brutal death.
"My life is just completely and utterly changed in a matter of one night," he said.
"It's just been the support of family and friends that has really pulled me through and is still pulling me through. Nobody's given up on me, even for a second."
In the emotional interview, he describes his wife as the funniest girl in the world.
"I just would love her to be remembered as she is she was - so clever, so funny," he said.
"People will never know that. They will have to take my word for that.
"[She was] incredibly witty. Just so smart and intelligent. She brightened up any room she was in."
Mr Meagher says the horrendous experience had made him very fearful.
"And that's the worst thing for me because the way Jill and I lived was very free of that. We trusted people we met," he said.
"That's been ruined for me. And I think that's the worst part of it. Not being able to be myself any more."