The woman who was attacked by the accused Claremont serial killer in her bedroom says he stopped when she told him she loved him, thinking the man straddling her back may have been her boyfriend.
Bradley Robert Edwards recently pleaded guilty to deprivation of liberty during a break-in at Huntingdale in Perth's southeast in 1988, but denies murdering Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1996 and 1997.
The victim testified in the Western Australia Supreme Court on Friday, saying her boyfriend, who is now her husband, was upset when he left her family's home after they spent Valentine's Day together, reports News.com.au.
So when she woke that night, feeling someone on top of her as she lay on her stomach, she thought it may have been him or even her brothers playing a prank. She tried to push up but couldn't.
"There was no noise but then a hand came over my mouth," she said. "I said 'it's OK, I won't scream'.
"Another hand came on to the back of my head and was pushing." She said she didn't panic, thinking it was her partner and that he covered her mouth so she wouldn't wake her parents, getting them both into trouble.
"I was trying to work out what was happening, shaking my head from side to side. "I said 'what are you doing' and 'let me go' at some point."
She said she could feel him reach behind himself, then he tried to cover her mouth with a piece of cloth, but she managed to say "I love you".
"He stopped what he was doing," the woman, now 50, told the court. She felt pressure from his body ease off, so she reached up to stroke his face "in a tender sort of way", still believing it could be her boyfriend, but knew he was clean shaven that day and instead felt stubble.
"So I dug my fingernail in as hard as I could," she said.
He lifted himself off her, she heard the patter of his feet on the ground and she braced, putting a hand over her head because she thought he would hit her. When nothing happened, she turned her head to see who was there and saw a tall man standing in the doorway – wearing a women's nightie.
For "half a heartbeat" they stared at each other before she hammered on the wall to alert her parents, shouting: "Dad, dad, dad!" "He took off."
The former Telstra technician, who lived in the area and knew the woman, left behind knotted black stockings, a piece of fabric and a silk kimono, which is central to the case.
That was separate from the nightie he wore, which the woman described as long sleeved and white, "similar to what my mother wore".
Edwards fidgeted in the dock when she testified and took some notes, with his pen tethered to his desk.
The accused, who turns 51 on Saturday, also recently admitted abducting and twice raping a 17-year-old girl he dragged through Karrakatta cemetery in 1995.