In her dying moments, Ciara Glennon fought murderer Bradley Edwards with her fingernails, scratching off the DNA police would later call samples AJM40 and AJM42.
The 27-year-old could not have known that her valiant, painful and ultimately doomed efforts to fend off her depraved murderer would prove crucial for a victory 23 years later.
But in the end it was Glennon's desperate struggle, in which one thumbnail was partially torn off, which would collect the tiny samples of Edwards' skin that would seal his conviction.
The longtime Telstra technician and amateur sports administrator was unmasked as the suspected Claremont serial killer just before Christmas 2016.
But it would take years of preparation and a complex seven-month trial with weeks of highly technical evidence to secure 51-year-old Bradley Robert Edwards' place in infamy.
Throughout those months, Edwards' defence team tried to tear holes in evidence, suggesting incompetent police and scientists had contaminated evidence'.
But one thing shone through — the DNA samples retrieved from Glennon's own hands which originally had been deemed too tiny to be analysed for clues.
Contained in a collection of small yellow-lidded jars marked with their sample numbers, AJM 40, 42, 46 and 48, they had been bagged as "Fingernail scrapings … mortuary".
All jars were marked "GLENNON, CIARA EILISH" and each was denoted as "left thumb", "right ring" or one of the other digits.
But there were two jars which would prove to be crucial.
The jar marked AJM42, with scrapings from under Glennon's left middle finger, had been pristinely kept, never opened.
And jar AJM40 had only been opened twice since a sample had been taken from under Glennon's left-hand thumbnail as her body lay in the mortuary in early April, 1997.
In two tiny samples, both from under nails on Glennon's left hand were a mixed DNA profile matching two people: the murder victim and Bradley Robert Edwards.
How they got there, and more importantly, how scientists, police and then prosecutors proved it beyond reasonable doubt, began with the Glennon family's unconscionable tragedy.
CIARA GLENNON VANISHES
Born in Zambia, where her Irish parents Denis and Una had moved to work as teachers, Ciara Glennon arrived in Australia, aged 5.
As a child, Glennon was "bright, fun-loving and adventurous", according to The Irish Times, and when she grew up she learnt to speak fluent Japanese and gained a law degree.
In 1996, she took a year off from her job at a Perth law firm to travel overseas to Israel, Greece, Turkey and Ireland, returning to Australia in late February 1997, six weeks later than she had intended.
She returned to her old job at Blake Dawson Waldron and began work on a long term case.
On Friday, March 14 1997, she drank with her colleagues in the company boardroom.
It was St Patrick's Day, but also the day before her sister Denise's hen's night ahead of her wedding a week later.
Her workmates convinced a doubtful Glennon to drink on with them at the Continental Hotel in the up-market Perth suburb of Claremont.
She stayed only until midnight, keen to get enough sleep before a morning appointment.
She went outside to Stirling Highway to search for a taxi for the 10-minute ride home to her parents' house.
Like Sarah Spiers, 18, on January 27, 1996 and Jane Rimmer, 23, on June 9 in the same year, 27-year-old Glennon was young, attractive and well-dressed.
And like them she vanished from the same road after a night out drinking with friends, never to be seen alive again except for by her killer.
When Una Glennon found out the next morning that Ciara hadn't slept in her bed, she was immediately alarmed.
By Saturday afternoon, the Macro Task Force – which had formed after Rimmer's body was found in a bush grave the previous August – was looking for Glennon.
Three days later, a tearful Denis Glennon addressed the media: "We are a strong family and I don't cry easily but …
"Ciara's alive, we believe that, and we are confident that the way she's been brought up she will fight on, and we are hopeful that she will be found at this stage.
"We need your help and your prayers."
The Glennons made the difficult decision to proceed with Denise's wedding, minus her most beloved bridesmaid whose dress hung unworn in a cupboard.
A BODY IS FOUND IN BUSHLAND
Two weeks after that, on April 3, 1997, a young man walking off a narrow limestone track in coastal scrub at Eglinton, 50km north of Perth, stumbled across a partially clothed body.
Like the remains of Jane Rimmer, which were even more decomposed when found 55 days after her murder, Glennon's body was covered with pieces of vegetation torn off nearby trees.
Whereas Rimmer had been lying on her left, Glennon was lying on her right; each victim had an arm outstretched above their head.
As police and media descended on the scene, forensic investigators began their work, recording on a video which 23 years later would be played at Edwards' trial.
The images were deemed too graphic for all but the judge, counsel and the accused, but the court could hear the words of the senior pathologist Karen Margolius describing Glennon's appearance.
"There are some breaches of the skin," Margolius said. "The thumb nail is split and it's torn.
"The nail on the ring finger is short.
"I don't know if it's been broken, I couldn't be sure, it's shorter than the others."
Glennon's "self defence" injuries were noted. Una and Denis Glennon's daughter had indeed fought on as long as she could.
Former police officer Robert Hemelaar, who was present at the scene, would tell Edwards' trial a large number of samples were taken from Glennon's body, the surrounding area and the vegetation.
A photo of Hemelaar that day shows him with a 2m high measuring stick, showing trees with branches torn off at a height of 1.7m and above.
Bradley Edwards is 1.85m tall.
WRONG PAIR OF SCISSORS
Glennon's remains were taken back to the WA state mortuary for a post mortem examination.
In video of the procedure played at Edwards trial – with the vision obscured from the public and media – since-retired mortuary manager Robert Macdermid can be heard talking about Ciara's fingernails.
Macdermid was talking with Laurie Webb, the then boss of PathWest, WA's state forensic science laboratory.
"Too hard Laurie," Macdermid could be heard saying, "I can't get them, Laurie."
His difficulty was the scissors he was using to remove Ciara's nail from her left thumb.
"But then I went back and had another go of it after that," Macdermid told prosecutor Bradley Hollingsworth when he appeared in the WA Supreme Court in January this year.
"I think the scissor was too big. The nail was cracked."
Glennon's head hair mass, AJM54, was also taken into evidence and would later prove to contain 41 critical fibres.
These matched the uniquely coloured "Telstra Blue" fabric used for uniforms worn by Telstra technicians in the mid-1990s.
They also matched vehicle seat material used in Holden VS Commodores of the same make and model assigned by Telstra to Edwards in the mid-1990s.
Three families were grieving, the Glennons, the Rimmers and the family of Sarah Spiers.
Despite Spiers' body remaining lost somewhere in or near Perth, Don and Carol Spiers knew their daughter was gone and were resolute about finding her, and her killer.
Denis Glennon's colleagues raised money to help the police investigation by paying for a DNA analyst and FBI psychological profiler.
Early suspects were taxi drivers, a public servant, a politician, but never Bradley Robert Edwards, who carried on life as a Telstra technician and a newly remarried man.
Edwards had met his second wife on April 1, 1997, 17 days after he murdered Glennon, and two days before the body was discovered.
At PathWest in 1997, forensic scientist Aleksander Bagdonavicius deemed the amount of DNA under Glennon's fingernail clippings as so minute to be "debris only, not suitable for analysis".
In August 2003, DNA testing known as Qiagen purification was carried out on some of the samples, but not all.
Again, Bagdonavicius decided not to test Glennon's left thumbnail, the sample known as AJM40.
PathWest was not accredited to conduct a new type of DNA testing called low copy number (LCN) profiling.
Developed by UK forensic scientist Dr Jonathan Whitaker at the Forensic science Service (FSS) in England, LCN enabled DNA to be harvested from even tiny samples.
PathWest carried out unofficial LCN testing for investigative purposes only, to assist police.
The testing on Glennon's samples found a trace of male DNA in LCN testing on fingernail AJM46 and a male DNA sample on fingernail AJM 49.
In March 2004, some of the fingernail samples, but not the crucial ones, were sent to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research in New Zealand for more sophisticated analysis.
In 2008, samples were sent to London to be examined by Whitaker, who was by then acclaimed as a "world-renowned expert in DNA profiling".
LCN was used to solve the 2001 Northern Territory murder of Peter Falconio by Bradley John Murdoch.
In that case, Whitaker detected tiny traces of Murdoch's DNA on the cable ties used to bind Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees.
At FSS, Whitaker was aware of the importance of the Claremont case and determined to do "everything (FSS) could" to get a result.
Because of the tiny size of the samples, Whitaker decided to combine the two fingernail scrapings from Glennon's left hand, AJM 40 and 42, "simply to try and increase the amount of biological material that would be available".
"The strategy going forward was all about trying to maximise any DNA that was there to get a result," he said.
Both components of the DNA had degraded in the same way, suggesting they had been exposed to the same environmental conditions.
Whitaker said there was "no evidence of a third person" being present in the DNA obtained from the fingernails.
In January 2009, Laurie Webb received the results at PathWest and he would go on to discover a match to a male DNA profile already on WA's database.
The result was a chilling confirmation of what detectives and criminal profilers had long suspected about the Claremont killings and another horrifyingly brutal attack.
Less than a year before Sarah Spiers was abducted off the Stirling Highway, a teenager was abducted, bound, gagged and raped on her way home after a night out at the same Claremont venue.
The 17-year-old's ordeal gives an insight into the terror Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon would have experienced in the hands of Edwards.
Around 2am on February 11, 1995, the young woman was walking home from Club Bay View.
She was on Gugeri St, which runs parallel to Stirling Highway, and had walked for about 750m before she cut through onto a path in a small reserve called Rowe Park.
Suddenly she was seized from behind by a large figure who threw her to the ground, straddled her and tied her wrists with telephone cord then stuffed a thick woollen sock into her mouth.
After initially struggling, the girl could feel the power and size of the man and decided it would be safer to submit.
She would later tell police her attacker was heavily built, about 185cm tall, caucasian with straight brown hair.
Terrified, disbelieving this was happening to her, she tried to keep her eyes shut as he carried her to a vehicle, tied her ankles together and placed a cotton hood over her head.
They drove around for 25 to 30 minutes before he stopped.
The victim did not know they were now at Karrakatta Cemetery, only about 3km from where the man had abducted her.
He carried her from the car, then dropped her on the ground and began dragging her through the dirt.
Edwards raped her and, despite the pain, the young woman did not scream or cry out, she "just froze basically".
More than 24 years later, a woman in the gallery of the WA Supreme Court witnessing the Karrakatta victim's statement being read out, would run crying from the chamber.
After raping her twice, Edwards picked her up and threw her into bushes, and took off in his car leaving the teenager to finally open her eyes and realise she was in a cemetery.
Naked from the waist down and still partially bound, the girl made it to safety and was treated and forensically examined.
Intimate swabs taken from her which contained a male DNA profile would light up 14 years later as a match.
The same male who had raped the girl had murdered Ciara Glennon.
Detectives still didn't know who it was, nevertheless, the Macro investigation was at a turning point.
They had a living witness, a description of the perpetrator and his vehicle, and they began to target individuals who might fit the profile.
Over the next six to seven years, police began looking at other unsolved cases.
Bradley Edwards, meanwhile, was living in the house he and his second wife had bought at Kewdale, in eastern Perth, in 2000.
Despite having attempted to abduct a social worker while fixing phone lines at Hollywood Hospital in 1990, he had enjoyed steady pay rises at Telstra.
Known as a reliable worker, he was promoted from field technician to an office-based role managing technicians.
At weekends, he worked at little athletics clubs as a timekeeper and photographer.
He and his second wife joined the nearby Kewdale Little Athletics Centre and in 2003 the Belmont Little Athletics Club.
Edwards was appointed to the committee as a records officer and by 2007, he was the Belmont club's president.
In one of his president's reports, he wrote, "In the first half of the season I was so busy on competition days I rarely had the opportunity to get out and meet the athletes and parents".
Photographs of Edwards at the Belmont club show a man comfortable in his surroundings, smiling and apparently at ease.
He gave off the same unassuming exterior to neighbours who knew him as a computer hobbyist and gamer who offered his help with their electronics connections for free.
In 2013, Edwards received an award for 10 years' service at Kewdale Little Athletics Club and accepted a City of Belmont council community spirit award for his "tireless work".
But as his relationship with his second wife was breaking down, WA Police were preparing to cross-test evidence from decades-old rape and murder crimes.
Edwards' wife would later say his trial she had left after their relationship "started to escalate", that she was "terrified" and "feared for my life".
This has never been explained publicly, although inadmissable evidence in pre-trial hearings point to Edwards' secret obsession with violent pornography depicting abduction, rape and murder.
By late 2016, Edwards had more than 30 years' experience working for Telstra and, as he approached his 48th birthday, only weeks left as a free man with an outwardly blameless reputation.
Task Force Macro was joining the dots and closing in on the most infamous killer in Western Australian history.
Over 10 months in 1988, when Edwards had been a 19-year-old, an offender dubbed the Huntington Prowler targeted nine houses.
The offender crept around houses, tried to break in or stole women's clothing including a white satin kimono and underwear off clotheslines.
In the early hours of February 15, 1988, an 18-year-old woke to the feeling of a man on her back with his hand over her mouth.
Realising it wasn't her boyfriend, she dug her fingernail hard into his cheek, and he got off her.
When she turned to look, she saw a tall figure wearing something long and white and she screamed for her father.
Police would later retrieve a white silk kimono and place it in an evidence box where it would remain for 28 years.
The prowler continued to haunt houses, all of which would prove to be within a 1km radius of the Edwards family home, on Gay St, Huntingdale.
Residents claimed to have seen the figure wearing nighties, dressing gowns and on one occasion, a pair of women's underpants over his head.
They reported to police he had been caught rifling through drawers, bursting from a house toilet and entering a rear sliding door.
On that occasion, the prowler left finger and palm prints.
During the investigation for the Hollywood Hospital assault, for which Edwards had received two years' probation, police had taken his finger prints, which remained in the WA police database.
When the prints from the Huntingdale prowler incident were tested in December 2016, they matched Edwards' prints from the Hollywood Hospital case.
They sent the white silk kimono for DNA analysis and got a result: it matched the Karrakatta Cemetery rapist and Ciara Glennon's murderer.
With mounting excitement, they planned a surveillance operation of the hospital attacker.
Days later, detectives picked up a Sprite bottle Edwards discarded at a cinema where he watched a movie with his stepdaughter.
A DNA test of the bottle threw up a match to the Karrakatta DNA and to the male DNA under Glennon's fingernails.
Days after that, police arrested Edwards, but it would take almost four years and a complex seven months trial to convict him.
But on Thursday, September 24, 2020, Justice Stephen Hall delivered his verdict.
He said Edwards was likely the killer of Sarah Spiers, but he ruled it not beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted Edwards on that count.
But Bradley John Edwards was guilty of the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.
The careful work of scientists, the long investigation by police, the prosecutors' determination and hard work had won out.
But not without Ciara Glennon's mortal battle, hand and nail with her attacker, yielding tiny bits of him for two yellow-topped jars named AJM40 and AJM42.