Police allege he is the man in the blue-hooded jumper captured on CCTV footage speaking with Ms Meagher moments before she disappeared while walking home from a Brunswick bar in the early hours of Saturday morning, just a five-minute walk from the unit she shared with her husband.

Bayley was arrested on Thursday afternoon and is believed to have helped officers locate Ms Meagher’s body, found in a shallow grave in Gisborne South, before charges were laid against him at an out-of-sessions court hearing at 2.30am (AEST) on Friday.

Wearing a tight-fitting, navy blue T-shirt, Bayley, a well-built man with short blond hair, sat in the dock with his head bowed.

When he looked up, he stared only in the direction of Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic, who remanded him in custody to reappear for a committal mention on January 18.

She asked him to stand and inquired whether he understood the purpose of the proceeding, to which he softly replied “yes”.

She asked whether he was aware that she couldn’t entertain a bail application given the serious nature of the charges, and again he softly replied “yes”.

The silence of the crowd was disturbed by a man who called out “maggot” as Bayley was removed from the dock by guards.

Ms Popovic remarked earlier that she had never before seen the courtroom so full of people.

She had delayed the hearing to allow Ms Meagher’s “very grief-stricken” husband and brother to speak privately with police and prosecutor Luke Exell about what was to happen in court.

Outside court, a composed Mr Meagher said he had been humbled by the support his family had received during “the worst thing” they would ever experience.

But he asked people to be mindful that comments on social media could have an impact on legal proceedings.

“Despite the fact that this is the worst thing we’ll ever go through in our lives, I’ve been really humbled by the support of the Australian public, the tireless efforts of the police and all the friends and family who have put their lives on hold to help us out,” he told reporters.

“While I really appreciate all the support, I just would like to mention that negative comments in social media may hurt legal proceedings, so please be mindful of that.”

He asked the media to respect the family’s privacy.