The body of ABC employee Jill Meagher has been discovered buried in a shallow grave north-west of Melbourne this morning, as homicide squad detectives charged a man over her rape and murder.
Adrian Ernest Bayley faced an out-of-sessions court hearing just before 2.30am today, where he was charged with the rape and murder of Mrs Meagher in Brunswick on Saturday morning.
The 41-year-old Coburg man was remanded without bail and will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court at 9am today
Police discovered Ms Meagher's body buried in a shallow grave beside a dirt track in Gisborne South about 1.45am today.
The grave is just metres from the road under a tall tree.
The remote area is surrounded by paddocks and is about 45 kilometres - or a 40-minute drive - from where Ms Meagher, an Irish national, was last captured on CCTV footage walking north along Sydney Road in Brunswick.
While the area is remote, there are farm houses within about one kilometre of the grave.
The coroner removed Ms Meagher's body from the scene about 4am today, and an autopsy will be carried out to determine her exact cause of death.
Bayley accompanied police to the grave last night and remained there for about 1.5 hours, before he was taken back to the St Kilda Road police complex where he faced an out-of-sessions court hearing.
Bayley declined to have the charges read out to him at the hearing, which took no more than two minutes.
A tattooed Bayley appeared at the session wearing a navy blue shirt and jeans, and had his left hand clasped over his face throughout.
When asked if he understood the charges he replied "yes" in a faint voice.
He was arrested in Coburg yesterday afternoon in connection with Ms Meagher's disappearance and questioned at Victoria Police's St Kilda Road headquarters.
Police have established a crime scene at the area, and forensic police are expected to remain there throughout the day.
— with Craig Butt