Just who is the man accused of the Claremont serial killings?

A terrifying, sexually violent attacker or a family man, deeply emotional with pent-up anger? A computer nerd with the steadiest of jobs, working for one organisation for 29 years, or the face of an eerie phantom circling women on Perth's streets?

All were allegedly parts of the complex picture of the life of 50-year-old Bradley Robert Edwards that has begun to emerge at his trial in Western Australia, news.com.au reports.

The Claremont serial killings is a case involving the disappearance of 18-year-old secretary Sarah Spiers, and the killings of two others, childcare worker Jane Rimmer 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, a lawyer, in 1996-1997.


After attending night spots in Claremont, a wealthy western suburb of Perth, Western Australia, all three women disappeared in similar circumstances leading police to suspect that an unidentified serial killer was the offender. The case, described as the state's biggest, longest running, and most expensive investigation, remains unsolved.

However, in 2016, a suspect, Bradley Robert Edwards, was arrested and is facing trial for the crimes.

Sitting in the dock of the WA Supreme Court hearings, Edwards pleaded not guilty to three murder charges.

The Claremont victims Ciara Glennon, Sarah Spiers and Jane Rimmer all vanished after a night out between January 1996 and March 1997. Photo / Supplied
The Claremont victims Ciara Glennon, Sarah Spiers and Jane Rimmer all vanished after a night out between January 1996 and March 1997. Photo / Supplied

For the first two weeks of what is expected to be a six to nine-month trial, the former Telstra technician and amateur sports official appeared mostly impassive and sometimes took notes.

Along with Edwards came glimmers of the lives of his three alleged victims.

Sometimes the insights were gruesome. Sometimes they were hauntingly sad, like Ms Spiers' voice in her last telephone call, ordering a taxi from Claremont.

The taxi arrived, but Sarah was gone, never to be seen again.


The timeline of the three murders known as the Claremont serial killings began with Sarah Spiers disappearing after a night out on Australia Day 1996.


Jane Rimmer vanished on June 6, 1996 and her body was found in bushland at Wellard, 40km south of Perth, almost eight weeks later.

Ciara Glennon disappeared in the early hours of March 15, 1997, and her body was found, also in bushland, almost three weeks later at Eglinton 40km north of Perth.

The bodies of both women were covered with branches and foliage, and discovered by chance.

The court heard that on the night of March 14, a Friday, Edwards was due to have dinner at his friends' holiday house at Dawesville.

His work colleague and friend, Murray Cook, testified he had invited Mr Edwards to visit him and his wife at their A-framed holiday house, 80km south of Perth.

Mr Cook had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and taken time off work.

Edwards had been supportive and his workmate invited him to dine with the couple.

Mr Cook had expected Edwards to drive down after work and he waited up until 10pm or 11pm, but Edwards never made it.

Instead, he showed up about 11am the following day and the pair had a confrontation.

"I said words to effect of 'what the hell? You were supposed to be here on Friday night'," Mr Cook told the court.

He said Edwards' response was: "I was trying to reconcile with my wife".

When Mr Cook asked him "how did it go?" Edwards "just shook his head".

Under cross-examination from Paul Yovich, Mr Cook agreed his wife's existing diary had helped his memory about the exact dates of the Dawesville visit.


Mr Cook also told the court he had been with Edwards on January 27, 1996, when Sarah Spiers had been drinking at Claremont before vanishing in the early hours of that morning.

The two Telstra workers had gone to work at Dumas House, a building next to Perth's Parliament House where government ministers had offices.

Mr Cook said he and Edwards turned up for work at 7:55am on that day.

Less than six hours earlier, shortly after 2am, Ms Spiers was last seen in Claremont after she phoned for a taxi.

When it turned up, Sarah was gone, never to be seen alive by her family and friends again.


Sarah Spiers spent her last night alive drinking with friends.

They included Emma McCormack, who had met Ms Spiers when they were boarders at Perth's Iona Presentation College.

The two remained friends after school and on the night in question they went out with a group to the Ocean Beach Hotel at Cottesloe, arriving around 8pm.

Now aged 42, Ms McCormack told the court the friends stayed at the hotel until closing time, at midnight.

Bradley Edwards, above as a young man, was convicted of assaulting a woman in a terrifying attack in 1990. Photo / Supplied
Bradley Edwards, above as a young man, was convicted of assaulting a woman in a terrifying attack in 1990. Photo / Supplied

She described Sarah's outfit of beige linen shorts, a white or light-coloured shirt, and a black jacket tied around her waist.

"She was happy, she was talking with friends," Emma recalled.

Sarah's sister Amanda picked up some of the friends and drove them over to Club Bayview in Claremont around 12.30am.

The girls chatted with others and around 1.30am, Sarah came up to Ms McCormack on the dance floor and told her she was going home.

Emma encouraged Sarah to stay and leave later with the group, but the teenager said: "No that's fine, I'm ready to go now, I'm just going to catch a taxi".

Ms McCormack said: "She spoke to me clearly, she wasn't upset, she just was going to leave, she seemed normal, there was nothing unusual."

Asked is that was the last time she saw Sarah, Ms McCormack replied tearfully: "Yes".


Edwards' calm demeanour in court was in contrast to at least one witness so far.

The woman who recounted the terrifying attack on her by Edwards almost 30 years ago was both animated and visibly upset.

On the trial's seventh day, the woman used her hands to show how Edwards had grabbed her from behind.

At one point during her recreation of the assault, she broke down and apologised for the emotion which had surfaced as she retold her story.

It was May 7, 1990, and the woman had been writing up a report at her desk in Hollywood Hospital, at Nedlands west of the Perth CBD.

She was employed as a social worker and Edwards was at the hospital as the Telstra phone technician assigned to work on the phone lines.

The woman recalled how she had been only dimly aware of Edwards' presence.

He had asked to use the toilet, and she remembers a quick flush, and then he asked to retrieve his pen.

Edwards then attacked her from behind, putting his hand around her face and stuffing a piece of cloth into her mouth.

"I was trying desperately not to breathe because I thought there was something on the cloth," the woman told the court

"I honestly thought I was going to die. I breathed in and there was nothing on the cloth so that was when I started to really struggle.

"I thought, 'I've got a chance here'. My feet kept slipping on the carpet. There was a lot of strength but I managed to twist around."

Pulled towards the toilet on her chair in an ordeal that lasted 10 seconds, the woman felt the fight for her life suddenly stop.

Then she heard her attacker say, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" before she fled the area, leaving behind one shoe.

Police were called and found cable ties in Edwards' pocket.

He admitted to the attack and was placed on a two-year probation order for a single charge of common assault.

Edwards later told psychologists sent to assess him he'd had a "distressing week" after his fiancee had informed him of her infidelity with a boarder living at their home.

Dr Paul McEvoy said Edwards had acknowledged he was deeply upset, but unable to explain why his "pent-up anger was released when it was" at the hospital.


Five women took the stand to describe eerie encounters with a man in a Telstra car, easily mistaken as a taxi.

In the mid-1990s, the unidentified man was driving around Perth streets, "circling" or "doing laps" of hotels, sometimes offering a lift to women.

The testimony of these women, called the "Telstra living witness" evidence by the prosecution, included sightings 3km west of Claremont at an iconic Perth hotel which young people still flock to.

One of those women was Annabelle Bushell, 45, who recalled how she suddenly fled a Telstra station wagon after having a "strong instinct to get out".

She was 22 years old in late 1996 and she was drinking at the Ocean Beach Hotel (OBH) in Cottesloe with her friend Trilby Winsome Smith.

They headed off from the pub towards the Stirling Highway to hitchhike home when a white station wagon slowed down beside them.

"I can see the Telstra logo on the front right-hand side of the bonnet as I'm looking at the car," Ms Bushell told the trial.

She said she believes the car then kept on moving, but then a white wagon with a Telstra "T" on it came back and they got in.

She sat in the front passenger seat and Ms Smith in the back.

Poster of Sarah Spiers after she disappeared in January 1996 from in Perth, WA. Photo / News Corp Australia
Poster of Sarah Spiers after she disappeared in January 1996 from in Perth, WA. Photo / News Corp Australia

Ms Bushell said from his side profile the driver appeared to be a man with neat, dark hair, neatly dressed and wearing dark trousers.

They drove to the Claremont intersection of Stirling Highway and Bay View Terrace, which is very near from the locations where Ms Rimmer, Ms Spiers and Ms Glennon were last seen.

"My recollection at that point is looking up and seeing a red traffic light and just wanting to get out," Ms Bushell said in court.

"I can't really remember what I said in terms of getting out, I think I suggested we were going to Club Bayview, at which point we got out.

"I pulled Trilby out of the back seat. She was from my memory half asleep on the back seat, I recall opening the passenger back door and reaching in and grabbing her.

"For myself, I just had a strong instinct to get out of the car and I wasn't in a good spot."

Ms Bushell reported the incident to police in June 1997, three months after Ciara Glennon disappeared, and again gave them a statement in March 2017.

Under questioning by the state prosecutor, Ms Barbagallo, she described the driver as "middle-aged, 30 to 40" and "didn't seem to be big or small, he just seemed to be a normal build."

Under cross-examination by Edwards' counsel, Paul Yovich, Ms Bushell her 1997 statement would be more accurate and that she'd had "a pretty big night" of drinking alcohol.


The first day of the trial's second week began late, so that a man who had once been Edwards' love rival could testify via video link from overseas.

The man had usurped Edwards in the affections of the accused's first wife, back in the mid-1990s.

The prosecution called him, in part, to support one of its arguments that emotional turmoil caused Edwards to commit the alleged offences for which he is on trial.

The court heard that the man had become a boarder at the house where Edwards was living with his first wife around March 1995 and that she and the man were secretly lovers.

He told the court that on Sunday mornings while Edwards was asleep up the hall, the first Mrs Edwards would "sneak into my room while Bradley was sleeping" for sex.

The first wife told the man "Bradley won't wake up", but he thought she was "playing a dangerous game".

She had earlier told the trial that her relationship with Edwards had begun to deteriorate when he brought home a computer and thenceforth spent hours connecting with it rather than her.

Edwards was on the computer "every night, seven nights a week," the man said.

"He'd come home from work, get changed, go on the computer, come out for a meal, and then go back in again."

The man said that on one occasion after Edwards walked in to see them kissing, he wanted to leave because he "feared for his life".

The last time he heard from Edwards, the man said, the accused threatened to kill him.

"Bradley called and was speaking to (the first wife), who in turn put the phone on to me, and he accused me of having an affair with (her) and I said to him, 'I thought that was plain and clear to see'," the man told the court.

"He said 'oh, I'll kill you', and I said, 'Well you know where I live, you've got my address'."


In week one of the trial, the woman who became Edwards second wife testified that within weeks of meeting him, a "very edgy" Edwards cried as he revealed he had a criminal history.

The 54-year-old woman said Edwards played it down as "just an assault", describing "a brain snap" when he discovered his first wife's infidelity.

Their romance had begun after he came to fix phone lines at her work, and he sent her two dozen red roses before their first date, at a McDonald's.

She brought along her daughter from a previous relationship, a three-year-old, and images and home videos from their subsequent relationship were shown in court.

The trial heard that Edwards' now adult stepdaughter had gone to the cinema with Edwards on December 20, 2016, when the accused was under police surveillance.

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Upon leaving, Edwards binned a Sprite bottle which undercover officers grabbed and which later allegedly provided the DNA match linking him to crimes for which he is now on trial.

The stepdaughter was also living in Edwards' Perth house when he was arrested two days later, although he and her mother had by then separated.

The second wife told the court last week she had made a handwritten list of Edwards' bank statements and had "feared for her life", but did not elaborate further

The list included two withdrawals made at ATMs in Bay View Terrace, Claremont in December 1996.

Asked by state prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo SC why she took the notes, the second wife said her relationship with Edwards had "started to escalate".

Asked by defence counsel Paul Yovich SC about how she compiled the notes, the woman said she had been "scared stiffless" [sic], but Mr Yovich cut her off.

Neither Ms Barbagallo nor Mr Yovich questioned the ex-wife about why she was scared or fearful for her life.

Edwards' judge-only trial will breaks for just two weeks over the Christmas-New Year holidays and resume on January 6, 2020.