THE woman who found the naked body of Claremont serial killings victim Jane Rimmer has wept while recounting the grim discovery, saying she initially thought a twig was touching her leg, but it was a foot.
Confessed rapist Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, is on trial in the Western Australia Supreme Court, charged with murdering the 23-year-old childcare worker and 18-year-old secretary Sarah Spiers in 1996, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, the following year.
Tammy Van Raalte-Evans told the court on Tuesday she was travelling with four children and her husband on an unsealed road in semi-rural Wellard almost two months after
Ms Rimmer vanished when a rooster ran in their path.
“I said ‘go for it’ … they all chased the chook … they were running around like headless chooks themselves,” she testified.
While the children were “screaming and carrying on”, Ms Van Raalte-Evans began picking death lilies and had two in her hand when a particularly large flower drew her a couple of metres off the road into bushes.
Ms Van Raalte-Evans broke down as she described stepping into a clearing she likened to a “cocoon” and discovering Ms Rimmer’s body.
“I didn’t register what I was looking at,” she said.
“I felt on the back of my leg it was a stick, but it was a foot. I followed her foot to the rest of her body.”
Ms Rimmer was face down, some twigs covered her torso and her hair was matted, Ms Van Raalte-Evans said.
She took two steps back and called for her husband, who came running.
“I said ‘it’s a girl in there’.
“He said ‘it’s got to be a sheep’, and I said ‘it’s not … she’s got a small foot’,” she said.
Ms Van Raalte-Evans’ husband briefly went into the bushes and was shocked by what he saw, she said.
“I stood there and screamed at the kids to get in the car,” she said.
“He wanted me to get in the car.
“I said ‘I’m not coming’.”
Ms Van Raalte-Evans stood at the spot with her dog while her husband and the children drove away to alert police.
Two horseriders approached and she warned them to stay back but the male rider went briefly into the bushes.
“He only just basically stuck his head in,” Ms Van Raalte-Evans said.
Other than accidentally brushing against Ms Rimmer’s foot, she said she did not touch anything.
Her husband Michael Evans said he went into the bushes twice and was about 40cm from the body but never touched the victim.
He also said he never saw anyone else touch the body.
It is alleged fibres from Edwards’ Telstra-issued trousers were found on Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, who was also dumped in bushland, and on a 17-year-old girl he twice raped in a cemetery in 1995.
Claremont burger boys saw victim hitchhike
ONE of the so-called “burger boys” in the Claremont serial killings trial says he saw a woman leaning into a car to talk to the driver on the night Ciara Glennon went missing, while another man said he saw her get in.
Ex-Telstra technician and confessed rapist Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, maintains he did not murder secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ms Glennon, a 27-year-old solicitor, in the mid-1990s.
Troy Bond, one of three men dubbed “the burger boys” along with Brandon Gray and Frank McElroy, said they went to the Continental Hotel in the Perth suburb of Claremont on March 14, 1997, then bought food from Hungry Jack’s around midnight.
“There was a female walking up Stirling Highway,” the 45-year-old told the Western Australia Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“Brandon said to her ‘you’re stupid for hitchhiking’ … I just told Brandon to be quiet and let her go,” he said.
“She stuck her finger up at the three of us.”
Mr Bond said he only saw the woman walking and could not say if she was hitchhiking.
Mr Gray said he saw the woman “neatening herself up”, continue to walk then extended her arm “in a motion, maybe hitchhiking”.
He made a comment to her and she gestured for him to mind his own business, Mr Gray testified.
“She walked like someone you probably wouldn’t let walk like that by themselves … maybe intoxicated,” he said.
Mr Bond said he looked up the road as the trio ate their burgers at a bus stop and saw the woman leaning into a white Holden Commodore station wagon, talking to the driver.
Ian Stanford, 54, was a passenger in a car driven by Lisa Mighall when he saw a woman getting into a white vehicle, which he said may have been a ute with a canopy.
“It looked to be in reasonable condition … no writing on the side of it,” he said.
“As we went past the back of the car, the tail gate was up and there was a person holding it up … I couldn’t understand why there was a girl or a lady … and she was in the process of getting in the back.
“I remember saying to Lisa, ‘after what’s gone on in this area, I can’t understand why someone would do that’.”
Mr Stanford said he never saw the woman’s face but she was wearing a white top and black skirt.
Several other people have said they saw a woman matching Ms Glennon’s description walking alone, with two saying she was leaning against a light-coloured car.
Prosecutors allege Edwards abducted Ms Glennon in his white Telstra-issued vehicle.
The trial is hearing from its final civilian witnesses before taking a break over the Christmas period. DNA and fibre evidence will dominate next year’s hearings.
The trial is expected to finish before mid-2020 and Justice Stephen Hall will then likely reserve his judgment for months before handing down his verdict.