Claremont case cops grilled over proximity

Police who attended crime scenes in the Claremont serial killings case will continue to be questioned in detail about how close they got to evidence.
Police who attended crime scenes in the Claremont serial killings case will continue to be questioned in detail about how close they got to evidence.

THE Claremont serial killings trial will continue to hear evidence from police who attended the crime scenes, with the discovery of Ciara Glennon’s body the focus of day 25.

Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, has been on trial in the WA Supreme Court since late last year accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ms Glennon, 27, in 1996 and 1997.

Ms Rimmer was the focus on day 24 on Tuesday, with current and former police questioned in detail about the recovery of her naked and substantially decomposed body from bushland in Wellard and the two post mortems that followed.

Former homicide squad detective Vicky Young performed the role of continuity, taking note of proceedings from a short distance, and insisted she did not enter the crime scene and abided by protocols at the post mortems.

However, after the forensic pathologist handed her a clump of Ms Rimmer’s hair, she took it home, shampooed it, tied it with an elastic band and placed in a gift box to give to the childcare worker’s family “out of an act of kindness and compassion”.

Defence counsel did not ask about the lock of hair during cross-examination.

Former sergeant Barry Mott testified DNA science was “very much in its infancy” in the 1990s and police did not consider they could potentially contaminate a crime scene – even without touching anything.

But he wore disposable forensic overalls and gloves in Wellard.

Sergeant Mark Harbridge attended Ms Rimmer’s two post mortems when he was a senior constable, but said he did not get closer than 40cm to her body.

Other police officers have also been grilled about how close they came to the bodies, with the defence arguing evidence could be contaminated.

On Wednesday, the trial is expected to hear lengthy evidence from Sergeant Gary Hyde, who attended the Eglinton crime scene were Ms Glennon’s body was found.