Ciara Glennon, 27, was the last victim of the Claremont serial killer. She disappeared after a night out in Perth on March 15, 1997 and her body was found in bushland 40km away
The father of one of the women brutally murdered by Bradley Robert Edwards has spoken out about his daughter’s bravery after crucial DNA embedded underneath her fingernails helped to bring her killer to justice.
Justice Stephen Hall convicted Edwards, now 51, for the murders of Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, on Thursday after a marathon seven-month trial in the WA Supreme Court.
However, Edwards was found not guilty murdering a third girl Sarah Spiers, 18, saying there was not enough evidence to convince him beyond reasonable doubt.
Ms Spiers’ body has never been found.
The verdict partially brings to a close more than two decades of pain for the families of the three women, who have regularly attended the trial and were in court to hear the verdict.
Edwards will be sentenced over the two counts of murder on December 23.
Addressing the media on Friday, Denis Glennon spoke of his daughter Ciara’s ‘great courage and determination to survive’.
‘As she fought to save her life, she left us the vital DNA clues,’ Mr Glennon said.
‘Ciara was strong in spirit, had courage, great courage but yet as she fought to save her life she could not save herself because of the brutal assault by her murderer.’
Justice Stephen Hall convicted Edwards, now 51, for the murders of Jane Rimmer (pictured), 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, on Thursday 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
The 27-year-old lawyer was the third woman to vanish from the streets of of Claremont in Western Australia in the mid-1990s.
Days after her disappearance in March 1997, her father pleaded for help to find his daughter.
‘The way shes been brought up, she will fight,’ he said the time.
Ciara’s body was found in remote bushland in Eglinton, 40 kilometres north of Perth.
Two decades on, prosecutors relied on DNA evidence to have Edwards convicted.
The DNA had been collected under Ms Glennon’s fingertips after she scratched and scrapped for her life.
Key to their case were fibres found in Edwards’ car that linked it to the bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon.
Mr Glennon shared how he had spent the past 23 years haunted by images showing his daughter’s horrific injuries.
The family had not been permitted to view her body but Mr Glennon had read the autopsy report which contained photographs of the fatal injuries to Ciara’s neck.
‘For 23 years I have lived with those images,’ he said.
Shortly after her funeral Mr Glennon went to Ciara’s grave site alone where he vowed to find her killer.
‘I made a personal commitment to her. I told her I would do all within my power to find the person or persons responsible for killing her or I would die trying,’ he said.
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
‘Since then that promise has driven me unwaveringly.’
The Claremont serial killer case is WA’s biggest, longest-running and most expensive criminal investigation.
Edwards, a Telstra technician, was arrested in 2016 and has remained in custody ever since 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.
Police had long had their sights on the now 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.
Outside court 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.’
Bradley Robert Edwards has been found guilty of the serial killings of two women in Claremont, Western Australia, across 1996 and 1997
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.’
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.
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
As the trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia drew to a close the 51-year-old former Telstra technician’s fate was decided by a judge sitting without a jury of his peers.
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 forms 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’.
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
‘Another hand came onto the back of my head and was pushing.’
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 is now 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 has 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 prosecution argues 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.
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.
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. Alleged killer Bradley Robert Edwards is pictured during his first marriage in the 1990s
‘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.’
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.’
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 alleged killer’s trial
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.
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
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.’
Edwards went to trial in late November and the courtroom has been packed throughout the hearing.
The families of the three murdered women have regularly been in attendance, as have the 17-year-old and 18-year-old women Edwards attacked, and his parents.
Alleged serial killer 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
Prosecutors say Edwards’s DNA was found in semen on the silk kimono left behind after the Huntington attack, on the cemetery victim, and under Ms Glennon’s fingernails.
It has been part of Edwards’s defence that the scientific evidence may have been contaminated.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich SC urged Justice Stephen Hall in his opening address in November to ‘beware the tendency to smooth out the rough edges’ in the Crown’s case.
‘The defence is simple,’ Mr Yovich said. ‘It wasn’t him.’
‘We are not pointing the finger at any specific person, all we are saying is the nice, neat picture the state wants to present… is not the full picture.
‘The proper approach in any case is to fit the case theory to the evidence, not to try to fit the evidence to the case theory.’
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
The Crown also said fibres from Edwards’s work trousers and Telstra-issued car were found on the rape victim and the remains of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon.
Mr Yovich claimed DNA and fibre evidence could have been contaminated and that storing of such materials in the 1990s was much less sophisticated than it was now.
The prosecution evidence alone took five months to be heard and featured more than 200 witnesses.
But the defence case was almost over before it began.
Edwards chose not to step into the witness box or to give a detailed response to the murder charges.
The only evidence his barrister called for was weather records for the day Ms Spiers disappeared.
The Crown’s case closed with the playing over two days of a video of Edwards’s interview with police after his arrest.
That video showed Edwards appearing to be stunned when confronted with DNA evidence linking him to one of the Claremont killings, the Huntingdale attack and the rape of the teenager.
Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured) will not learn his fate for several months. His defence case finished this week and closing submissions are due to be heard next month
‘Brace yourself Bradley, I have some results,’ Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Marrapodi said in the interview, before telling Edwards of the positive matches.
Edwards responded: ‘How could that be? I didn’t do it.’
Police showed Edwards a photograph of the silk kimono left behind at the Huntingdale attack which allegedly contained his DNA.
‘How can it be?’ he asked Senior Sergeant Marrapodi. ‘I don’t know what it is or where it’s from.’
Senior Sergeant Marrapodi told Edwards his DNA was also found on the 17-year-old victim of the cemetery rape. ‘I’m struggling to explain that,’ Edwards responded.
‘I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I didn’t do any of this.’
It was not until October last year before the start of his murder trial that Edwards pleaded guilty to the Huntingdale attack and the rape at Karrakatta.
Edwards was also shown a photograph of Ms Glennon, who he denied knowing, and told DNA gathered from the rape victim matched a sample found on Ms Glennon.
‘What happened Bradley?’ the detective asked.
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
‘I don’t know,’ Edwards replied. ‘I wish I could explain it and say I was wherever.’
Senior Sergeant Marrapodi tried to appeal to Edwards’s connection to his stepdaughter.
‘Your daughter said your most prized virtue is your honesty, this is your chance to show that she’s right,’ he told him.
Edwards: ‘I’m being honest.’
Senior Sergeant Marrapodi: ‘Are you a man who accepts responsibility for his actions?’
Edwards: ‘Yes I am. I accept responsibility for stuff I’ve done, not stuff I haven’t done.’
The case has been adjourned until June 8 when closing submissions will begin. Justice Hall is then expected to take some months before delivering his verdict.
The 18-year-old woman Edwards attacked at Huntingdale in 1988 is now married to the boyfriend she had thought was on top of her.
Bradley Robert Edwards’s defence team arrives at court on the first day of his murder
KEY DATES IN MARATHON CASE OF THE ALLEGED 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
Ciara Glennon, 27, was the last victim of the Claremont serial killer. She disappeared after a night out in Perth on March 15, 1997 and her body was found in bushland 40km away