Fibres found on the bodies of two of the Claremont serial killings victims strongly suggest they were in the car driven by accused murderer Bradley Edwards before they died, an international expert has told his triple murder trial.
- Bradley Edwards is accused of murdering three women in Perth
- His car was seized by police two decades after the killings
- Matching fibres were found on Jane Rimmer and Caira Glennon’s bodies
Fibres consultant Ray Palmer, who is giving evidence by video link from the UK, told the WA Supreme Court the combination of fibres found on Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon were strongly supportive of them having been in Edwards’s white 1996 model Holden Commodore station wagon.
Edwards, 51, a former Telstra technician, is on trial for the murders of the two women and that of 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, whose body has never been recovered.
He has pleaded not guilty.
His Telstra-issued car was seized by police on the same day he was arrested in December 2016 and was forensically examined by detectives and scientists in the months that followed.
Dr Palmer said it was even more likely that Ms Glennon had been in the car than Ms Rimmer, as more fibres were found on her body.
These included blue polyester fibres that matched Telstra-issued clothing Edwards would have worn at the time, and grey polypropylene fibres that matched the interior of the Commodore.
“The findings very strongly support the proposition that she’d been in contact with the interior of the vehicle,” he said.
Concerns raised over evidence collection
On Wednesday, Dr Palmer was highly critical of the behaviour of police and scientists at the crime scenes where the bodies were found, and also at the post mortems.
He told the court not enough care had been taken to preserve evidence, and some staff were seen on video at the scenes not wearing adequate personal protective equipment and not taking appropriate measures to protect the bodies, causing valuable fibre evidence to be likely lost.
Under cross-examination from defence counsel Paul Yovich SC on Thursday, Dr Palmer said there was a possibility fibres found in Ms Rimmer’s hair could have been transferred there by Sergeant Barry Mott, who was the police photographer at the scene.
Sergeant Mott gave evidence he had arrived at the scene in a white Holden Commodore and had changed into blue disposable overalls at the rear of his vehicle.
But Dr Palmer said he was less likely to have transferred any fibres to Ms Rimmer’s body if he had not had any physical contact with it.
“It’s possible but given the scenario you’ve given me, I feel it’s less likely,” he said.
Taxi missed Sarah Spiers by minutes
Earlier, the court heard a taxi meant to pick up Ms Spiers on the night she went missing was dispatched immediately but ended up picking up another fare instead, just five minutes after she made what is thought to be her last telephone call.
The detail was revealed by Alana Coniglio, a Swan Taxis employee who told the court taxi records showed Ms Spiers called from a phone box on the corner of Stirling Road and Stirling Highway in Claremont at 2.06am on January 27, 1996.
He said the closest taxi was dispatched and records showed it picked up a fare at 2:11am.
Earlier in the trial, taxi driver Jaroslav Krupnik testified he was not far away when he was called to pick up Ms Spiers, but when he drove past the intersection he could not see anyone, so he kept driving to nearby Club Bay View where he picked up other passengers.
Ms Coniglio said extensive searches of the taxi database found no evidence of Ms Glennon calling for a taxi on the night of her disappearance in March 1997, and only one record relating to Ms Rimmer on the night she vanished, showing she caught a cab from Nedlands to Cottesloe around 8.30pm on June 8, 1996.
The marathon trial before Justice Stephen Hall is now in its final stages after hearings that have spanned five months.
The fibre evidence is expected to wrap up this week, with Edwards’s police interview due to be played to the court next week, bringing the prosecution’s case to a close.
It is not clear how many witnesses, if any, the defence plans to call.