During the Mid 90’s three women disappeared within a year from the same area of Claremont, Perth, Australia. All three women had been on a night out with friends within the same entertainment precinct, the remains of two of them were later discovered but the other woman remains missing, although it is assumed she met the same fate as the others and by the hands of the same man.
Sarah Spiers, 18, left Club Bayview, central Claremont, at appoximately 2pm on January 27th 1996. She was seen waiting fin the dark, alone, for a taxi on Stirling Road, next to Stirling Highway. When the taxi arrived less than ten minutes later Sarah was nowhere to be seen. Witnesses reported seeing an unidentified car approach Sarah but didn’t know what happened after. Massive press coverage surrounded her disappearance and despite extensive searches, Sarah has never been found or seen alive since. It is widely accepted that she likely experienced the same fate as the following two victims…
Less than two months later, on June 9th 1996, Jane Rimmer, 23, was on a night out with friends in Claremont. They were queuing to enter Club Bayview, (the same place Sarah Spiers had attended) having just been for drinks at the Ocean Beach hotel and the Continental Hotel. Due the long waiting time her friends decided to head home, Jane decided to stay and continue her night out. At just after midnight, Jane was seen caught on a security camera waiting outside the Continental Hotel. What happened after that remains a mystery until almost two months later her naked remains were discovered under vegetation, in an area of bush-land in Wellard. She had been posed laying on her side with her arm outstretched. Due to the amount of decomposition Jane Rimmer’s cause of death was undetermined but believed to have been caused by a neck injury. Deep cuts on her left arm indicate she tried to defend herself from the attack.
On March 15th 1997, Ciara Glennon was on a night out in Claremont, just as the other two women had been. She had been at the Continental hotel, again, just like the other two women had been, with friends before heading home alone. Witnesses report seeing her passing a bus stop on Stirling Highway at around 12.30.am. They told police she was approached by an unknown light coloured vehicle. Almost three weeks later her semi naked remains were found in bush-land in Eglinton. She had been covered in vegetation and posed with an arm outstretched, almost mirroring how Jane Rimmer was discovered. Her nails had been damaged where she had tried to defend herself. The post-mortem determined she died from a neck injury where by the “large, gaping” wound went from her right temple down to her neck, caused by a sharp object.
Police officially confirmed they believed all three cases were connected and that they were searching for a serial killer. Dubbed the Claremont Serial Killer. A reward for $250,000 was offered and the investigation became the longest and most expensive case in the Perth’s history. The Task Force set up to investigate initially concentrated on taxi drivers since all three women had been waiting for a taxi when they disappeared. It highlighted a problem of the tremendous amounts of unlicensed taxi drivers in the area and the State, resulting in stricter licensing and taxi standards.
Criminal profiling suggested the killer was a well educated white man, 25-35 years old, who lived or had lived in the area. In December 2005, almost 9 years after the murders it was revealed that forensics had been able to identify fibres found on Jane Rimmer were from a VS Series 1 Holden Commodore. Witnesses came forward and recounted seeing a man approach women on the side of the road to offer them lifts, he was driving a Telstra station wagon. The same car was reported as being seen parked outside a local cemetery where a 17 year old was repeatedly raped in 1995. She had been abducted from just outside Club Bayview.
Police arrested and charged suspect Bradley Robert Edwards, 48, on December 2016. He was charged with the murder of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon and the wilful murder of Sarah Spiers, alongside several offences on other victims including unlawful detention, and sexual assault, beginning when he was 19 years old. He admitted to the latter offences as well as abducting the 17 year old girl from Claremont before raping her in the cemetery, but he denied being the Claremont Killer. A strong piece of evidence against him, was the car he drove at the time of the murders was a white VS Series Wagon with Telstra logos. Advances in forensic testing also provided evidence against Edwards – Semen on a kimono after the cemetery attack and DNA found under Ciara Glennon’s fingernails was found to be a positive match to Edwards’, as well as fibres from his work clothes and Telstra work vehicle which were found on three of his victims.
Edwards’ defence is to claim that the evidence could have been contaminated and that it simply ‘wasn’t him’. The Trial ended in June 2020 after several months and the judge is expected to return his verdict by September 2020.