The mystery of the Claremont killings case has been partly solved, with Bradley Robert Edwards found guilty of murdering Jane Rimmer, 23, in 1996, and Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1997.
Edwards was acquitted of the murder of 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, the third young woman to disappear from the streets of Perth, whose body has never been found.
Edwards, a former Telstra technician, was arrested and charged in December 2016, after twenty years of mystery around the unsolved, brutal murders of the women.
The trial went on for seven months and heard from more than 200 witnesses. It has been the longest and most expensive criminal trial in Western Australia’s history.
When delivering the verdict, Justice Stephen Hall said the events of the Claremont killings “have haunted the memory of many people and troubled the public conscience”. He said the disappearance of the three young women created a “real and pervasive sense of fear” in the Perth community for two decades.
The three young women had each disappeared after a night out in Claremont’s popular entertainment precinct during a 14-month period in 1996 and 1997.
The court heard that Jane Rimmer, a childcare worker, was taken by Edwards in June 1996. The prosecution said he had probably offered her a lift home, before driving her to a secluded area in the suburb of Wellard. He slit her throat and dumped her body in some bushland.
Ciara Glennon, a solicitor, was taken by Edwards after a night out with work colleagues in March 1997. He drove her to Eglinton, where like Jane Rimmer, he slit her throat and dumped her body.
Both women’s bodies were found covered with vegetation from nearby bushland, and had sustained similar injuries from acts of self-defense.
There was not enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Edwards had also murdered Sarah Spiers, the youngest of the three women. She disappeared in January, 1996, and her body has never been found.
“The evidence of his propensity to kill may make him a likely suspect, or even the probable killer, but it does not exclude the real possibility that some other person killed her,” Justice Hall said.
The court also heard of Edwards’ history of violent sexual assaults on other young women, including a 17-year-old he abducted and raped in Claremont in 1995.
Western Australia’s Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said Edwards is a “brutal rapist and murderer” and that it had been an important day for justice.
“The Claremont killings struck at the heart of our way of life, stretching back 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.
“Bradley Edwards can now be called for what he is: a brutal rapist and murderer.”
“We must never forget Jane, Sarah, and Ciara, and the other many witnesses and victims, and the devastating effects these crimes had on their families.”
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan called on Edwards to reveal what happened to Sarah Spiers.
“If you know where Sarah Spiers is, can you please tell us. Can you please provide some closure to the Spiers family, to let them know where their daughter is. At times like this, it’s time to do the right thing by the family. It’s the time to give them some comfort out of all this pain.”