Claremont serial killings: accused man had ‘early fetish’

Victims Ciara Glennon, Sarah Spiers and Jane Rimmer.
Victims Ciara Glennon, Sarah Spiers and Jane Rimmer.

THE alleged Claremont serial killer had a fetish for women’s underwear since his early teens, the West Australian Supreme Court has heard.

Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo told the court on Monday a woman had provided a statement suggesting Bradley Robert Edwards had rifled through her underwear drawer during a visit in 1982 when he was 13 or 14.

She said she found him in her bedroom near her wardrobe and when she asked him what he was doing, he replied: “I’m just having a look around.”

She later found the straps of a black, lacy bra hanging out of a drawer, which was not the way she had left it.

“It’s a piece of evidence that shows his interest, we say, in women’s underclothing,” Ms Barbagallo told the directions hearing, which is disputing what can be led against Edwards at trial.

Defence counsel Paul Yovich, however, objected to the evidence, saying it did not reveal any propensity or tendency.

The court has previously heard about “prowler” offences in 1988 in the Perth suburb of Huntingdale, where Edwards lived with his parents, aged 19.

Women’s garments were stolen from a clothesline, including a silk kimono, then several crimes were committed or attempted within a one kilometre radius of his home by a man wearing a women’s nightgown or similar.

One crime, for which he is charged, allegedly involved him breaking into the home of an 18-year-old woman, unplugging the telephone and attacking her while she slept, leaving behind a kimono and black stockings.

In December 2016, when Edwards was arrested, police searched his home and found a box containing women’s undergarments with holes cut in them and his DNA on them.

Ms Barbagallo said women’s undergarments were “an interest that persisted”.

She has previously told the court Edwards could not explain his DNA being found on the kimono and a 17-year-old girl after she was sexually assaulted at Karrakatta cemetery in 1995, for which he is also charged.

The 50-year-old also can’t explain why his DNA was found on one of the three murder victims, 27-year-old Ciara Glennon.

Ms Barbagallo has previously told the court the allegations showed an escalation in Edwards’ offending and he was experiencing turmoil in his personal life at the time of the murders, which ended when he started a new relationship.

The former Telstra worker has an assault conviction for an attack against a woman in 1990.

While working at Hollywood Hospital, he grabbed a social worker from behind, covered her mouth and attempted to drag her into nearby toilets, but she broke free.

Cable ties were found in his pocket.

He apologised and was sentenced to two years probation.