Bradley Robert Edwards has been jailed for life over the serial killings of two women in Claremont, Western Australia, across 1996 and 1997
Claremont serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards has been jailed for life two decades after he abducted and murdered two young woman in Perth.
Justice Stephen Hall on Wednesday condemned Edwards, now 51, to serve at least 40 years before he has any chance of parole.
The massive sentence finally brings the painful case, which few people thought would ever be solved, to an end after 24 long years.
Edwards was found guilty of the murders of Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, in September after a marathon seven-month judge-alone trial in the Western Australian Supreme Court.
Justice Hall however found Edwards not guilty murdering a third woman, Sarah Spiers, 18, saying there was not enough evidence to convince him beyond reasonable doubt.
Ms Spiers’ body has never been found, but police have vowed to never give up the search in the hope of gaining a conviction.
The families of the three women regularly attended the trial and were in court to hear the verdict and sentencing.
Perth’s club-going crowd was paralysed with fear as Ms Rimmer, Ms Glennon, and Ms Spiers disappeared in succession from popular nightspots.
Every local vividly remembers that time and the killings being left unsolved, seemingly forever, was a gaping wound for the whole city.
Justice Stephen Hall convicted Edwards, now 51, for the murders of Jane Rimmer (left), 23, and Ciara Glennon (right), 27, is September after a marathon seven-month trial in the WA Supreme Court
Justice Hall however found Edwards not guilty murdering Sarah Spiers (pictured), 18, saying there was not enough evidence to convince him beyond reasonable doubt. Ms Spiers’ body has never been found
Rumours abounded for decades over who the killer could be, until Edwards was suddenly arrested in 2016.
The Claremont serial killer case is WA’s biggest, longest-running and most expensive criminal investigation.
Edwards, a Telstra technician, remained in custody ever since his arrest awaiting what was eventually a judge-alone trial.
He previously admitted to attacking two other women and raping a 17-year-old girl in 1995.
But he denied murdering secretary Ms Spiers, 18, and childcare worker Ms Rimmer, 23, in January and June 1996 respectively, and solicitor Ms Glennon, 27, in March the following year.
Prosecutors relied on DNA evidence collected under Ms Glennon’s fingertips as she scratched and scrapped for her life.
Also key to their case were fibres found in Edwards’ car that linked it to the bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon.
Police had long had their sights on the convicted killer – who called himself the ‘bogeyman’ online – but he repeatedly lied to them about his crimes.
Justice Hall took almost three months to consider all the evidence against Edwards, before handing down his verdict.
This kimono was left by Bradley Robert Edwards at a house in Huntsdale after he broke in and assaulted an 18-year-old woman in 1988. It is alleged to have provided DNA evidence linking Edwards to the murder of Ciara Glennon in 1997 and the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 1995
Outside court in September Jane Rimmer’s sister Lee said she could now get on with her life, but felt for the Spiers family who continue to search for answers.
‘I feel really good actually, at one point I thought he was going to be not guilty but we got the result we wanted and now we just have to keep working for the Spiers family and hope someone finds Sarah,’ Ms Rimmer said.
‘It means I can get on with my life without all this stuff.
‘I think you get some closure but it’s always gonna be the same. No-one’s ever going to bring her back.’
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson praised Edwards’ rape victims for coming forward, and the ‘strength and resilience’ of the murdered girls’ families.
‘Bradley Edwards can now be called for what he is. A brutal rapist and a murderer,’ he said outside court after the verdict.
Commissioner Dawson vowed he would never stop looking for Ms Spiers’ body and the investigation would remain open.
‘The Claremont killings struck at the heart of our way of life, stretching [to] almost a quarter of a century,’ he said.
‘Three innocent young women were killed along with the hopes and dreams they never got to fulfil.
‘We will never give up trying to locate Sarah, and I have conveyed that to Don and Carol Spiers today and to Amanda. Sarah and her family deserve justice.’
Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured) was just 19 when he donned a woman’s nightie and crept into the bedroom of a sleeping 18-year-old woman. He has pleaded guilty to that attack in 1988 but denied murdering three women who disappeared from Claremont
Edwards was just 19 when he donned a woman’s nightie, crept into a bedroom and climbed on top of a sleeping 18-year-old woman.
It was seven years before the first of the three young women would disappear from a popular Perth entertainment precinct and become victims of a predator dubbed the Claremont serial killer.
The Crown always claimed it had strong DNA evidence linking Edwards, who provided hair and saliva samples to police, to the three murders. The defence case was simply that Edwards did not commit the crimes.
What happened to the teenager who found Edwards in her bedroom in 1988 formed an integral part of trying to establish him as the Claremont serial killer.
On February 15 that year the 18-year-old was sleeping on her stomach in the bedroom of her family home at Huntingdale in Perth’s south-east. Edwards knew her and lived in the same suburb.
When the woman woke to feel someone straddling her back she initially thought it might have been her boyfriend, with whom she had spent Valentine’s Day only hours earlier.
‘There was no noise but then a hand came over my mouth,’ the woman, now 50, told the court in December last year. ‘I said, “It’s OK, I won’t scream’.
‘Another hand came onto the back of my head and was pushing.’
A forensic police officer measures where tree branches have been torn off near the area where Ciara Glennon’s body was dumped at Eglington, about 40km north of Perth, in 1997
Jane Rimmber disappeared from Claremont on June 6, 1996 and her body was found in bushland about 40km south of Perth. This watch belonging to Ms Rimmer was found near her remains
The woman thought her partner might have been covering her mouth so she did not wake her parents and get them both into trouble.
‘I was trying to work out what was happening, shaking my head from side to side,’ she said. ‘I said, “What are you doing?” and “Let me go” at some point.’
When Edwards tried to cover her mouth with a piece of cloth the woman said, ‘I love you’ and he stopped what he was doing.
Still believing the intruder could be her boyfriend she reached up to stroke his face but felt stubble when she knew he was clean shaven. She then dug her fingernails into him as hard as she could.
This Identikit image shows a man seen on the night Sarah Spiers vanished from Claremont
As Edwards got off her and walked away the woman braced herself to be hit.
When that didn’t happen she looked to her doorway and saw a tall man standing there in a long-sleeved nightie, ‘similar to what my mother wore’.
Hammering the wall to alert her parents as she stared at Edwards, the woman cried out, ‘Dad! Dad! Dad!’ and he ran.
As he fled the woman’s bedroom that night, Edwards left behind knotted black stockings, a piece of fabric and a silk kimono.
That kimono was central to the Crown’s contention that Edwards would years later go on to abduct and murder three women who were having a night out in Claremont when they disappeared.
Edwards admitted the attack on the 18-year-old as well as twice raping a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta Cemetery, near Perth’s central business district, on February 12, 1995. That teenager had been abducted from Claremont.
The bodies of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer were located in bushland north and south of Perth respectively weeks after their disappearance and had suffered neck injuries. The remains of Ms Spiers have never been found.
Edwards has admitted twice raping a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta Cemetery, (pictured) near Perth’s central business district, on February 12, 1995. That teenager had been abducted from Claremont
The Claremont serial killer case has been described as is the state’s biggest, longest-running, and most expensive criminal investigation and has received constant media coverage in Perth. Killer Bradley Robert Edwards is pictured during his first marriage in the 1990s
The prosecution argued Edwards’s offending escalated over time.
The girl he raped in the cemetery less than a year before Ms Spiers disappeared gave evidence against Edwards in four statements read out in the court.
‘I thought at the end of it all that he was going to kill me,’ she said.
On the night of the rape the girl had left Club Bayview at Claremont – the same venue where Ms Spiers was last seen – and was walking a few hundred metres to a friend’s house.
Don and Carol Spiers, the parents of murdered secretary Sarah Spiers are pictured arriving at the Supreme Court of Western Australia on the opening day of her killer’s trial
As she made her way through a dimly-lit park, she was grabbed from behind, pushed to the ground and straddled, then had a thick cloth like a sock shoved deep into her mouth.
‘I didn’t scream, I just froze,’ she said. It happened really quickly. He told me to shut up at one point.
‘I didn’t say anything to him. I was too frightened. I kept my eyes shut – I thought it would be better if he thought I couldn’t see him.’
A picture showing drag marks on the ground where Bradley Robert Edwards raped a 17-year-old girl in a cemetery was tendered during his murder trial
Edwards tied up the girl’s hands tightly with a restraint ‘as thick as a telephone cord’, carried her to his van, bound her ankles and covered her head with a cotton bag.
‘I was very frightened,’ she said. ‘I thought I was going to die.’
Edwards drove for about 30 minutes then carried and dragged the girl through Karrakatta Cemetery where he raped her twice.
‘I started to cry but not loudly,’ she said. ‘I remember repeating, “Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening”. It was very painful. I remember my face lying against the dirt.’
Edwards flung the girl into scrub, then left. About two minutes later he returned and threw her into denser bushes.
After the girl heard him drive off she opened her eyes and ran to the cemetery’s nearest exit. Semi-naked, she fled to a care facility near the Hollywood Hospital where she dialled a phone at the front door with her chin and yelled for help.
Bradley Robert Edwards was arrested at his home at Kewdale in December 2016. Police are pictured as the continued to search the premises on December 23
Bradley Robert Edwards is pictured at the back of a van while he was married to his first wife, who gave evidence the couple had separated in late 1995 or early 1996
A woman inside the hospital called police while the still-bound teenager ran off. She then called her father from a phone box and ran back to the hospital.
‘I said, “Dad can you come and get me?” she recalled. ‘While I was crying I said I’d been raped.’
Edwards, who was convicted of assaulting a social worker at Hollywood Hospital in 1990, was arrested over the Claremont murders in December 2016 after DNA on the kimono was re-tested.
‘What the f***?’ the former Little Athletics coach exclaimed while sitting handcuffed on the floor of his Kewdale house when police told him he was suspected of being the Claremont serial killer.
‘You’ve got to be joking,’ he said as detectives read him his rights. ‘My head is spinning. I understand. I’m just trying to process what’s going on.’
He’ll have plenty of time to do that from his prison cell.
Bradley Robert Edwards’ (pictured) defence case finished this week and closing submissions are due to be heard next month
Ciara Gleenon’s father Denis Glennon is pictured arriving at the Supreme Court of Western Australia for the opening day of the trial of Bradley Robert Edwards on November 25 last year
KEY DATES IN MARATHON CASE OF THE CLAREMONT KILLER
February 15, 1988
– An 18-year-old woman is indecently assaulted in her sleep during a break-in at a Huntingdale home but her attacker flees after a struggle.
February 12, 1995
– A 17-year-old girl is abducted while walking through Rowe Park in Claremont and taken to Karrakatta Cemetery where she is sexually assaulted.
January 27, 1996
– Secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, disappears after leaving Club Bayview in Claremont after calling a taxi from a nearby phone booth. Her body has not been found.
June 9, 1996
– Childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, similarly vanishes in Claremont and is last seen outside the Continental Hotel.
June 10, 1996
– Western Australia Police sets up Macro task force.
August 3, 1996
– Ms Rimmer’s body is found by a mother and her children picking flowers in Wellard, south of Perth.
March 15, 1997
– Lawyer Ciara Glennon, 27, is last seen in Claremont after also visiting the Continental Hotel.
April 3, 1997
– Ms Glennon’s body is found in bushland at Eglington, north of Perth.
October 16, 2015
– A newspaper claims police have established a forensic link between Ms Glennon’s murderer and the man who raped a teenager in Karrakatta two years earlier but police refuse to comment for ‘operational reasons’.
December 23, 2016
– Bradley Robert Edwards, 48, from Kewdale, is charged with eight offences related to the deaths of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer and the Karrakatta and Huntington attacks, but no charges are laid over the disappearance of Ms Spiers. Edwards is remanded in custody.
February 22, 2018
– Edwards is charged with the wilful murder of Ms Spiers.
October 21, 2019
– Edward pleads guilty to five of eight charges against him, including the Huntingdale attack and raping the 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta, but maintains he didn’t commit the murders.
November 25, 2019
– A judge-alone trial begins in the Western Australia Supreme Court.
May 6, 2020
– The trial is adjourned after all evidence has been heard.
September 24, 2020
– Bradley Robert Edwards is found guilty of the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, but is cleared of killing Sarah Spiers
December 23, 2020
– Edwards will return to the WA Supreme Court for sentencing