Screams heard on nights of Claremont murders

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

MULTIPLE people heard high-pitched screams on the nights two victims of the accused Claremont serial killer were murdered, a Perth court has heard.

Confessed rapist Bradley Robert Edwards is fighting accusations he murdered secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, child care worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and lawyer Ciara Glennon, 27, after they spent a night out with friends in the affluent suburb’s pubs in 1996 and 1997.

The 50-year-old former Telstra technician was re-arraigned in the WA Supreme Court on Monday and again pleaded not guilty.

Bradley Robert Edwards in court today. Sketch: Nadia Budihardjo

In her opening address, prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said the night Ms Spiers vanished on January 27, 1996, four people heard screams several streets apart in Mosman Park.

One couple was woken by the screams and saw a light-coloured station wagon, while a second woman said she heard a high-pitched scream that abruptly stopped.

“In the still of the night, the screams of a female in distress can carry long distances and may be difficult to accurately ascertain the direction from which they come,” Ms Barbagallo said.

The court also heard the call Ms Spiers made for a taxi minutes before she vanished.

Ms Barbagallo said Ms Rimmer declined a taxi ride with friends on June 9, 1996, and that was the last time they saw her.

Security footage outside the pub was played in court but none of the four cameras at the venue captured everything.

Bradley Robert Edwards via the Central Crocs Football Club newsletter 2009.

The camera shows Ms Rimmer outside, then pans away and when it returns 13 seconds later, she has vanished.

A couple said they were woken by the sound of a female yelling that night then a car driving off, while another couple about one kilometre away also heard screaming that stopped suddenly, the prosecutor said.

Ms Barbagallo said Ms Rimmer’s naked body was discovered by “absolute chance” 55 days later in Wellard in an advanced state of decomposition metres from the road.

Ms Rimmer’s watch was found the next day by a man who did not realise its significance.

Ms Glennon had returned from one year of travelling overseas 14 days before she disappeared and was supposed to be her sister’s bridesmaid.

The court heard 12 people saw a lone woman matching Ms Glennon’s appearance walking away from the Continental Hotel on March 15, 1997, including a group referred to as the “burger boys” who told her she was “crazy to hitchhike”.

They later saw her leaning into the window of a station wagon.

Ms Barbagallo said each of the young, bright and beautiful women vanished “under the cover of darkness”.

Police at the home of Bradley Robert Edwards.

“Two were found dead, dumped in bushland, covered in foliage and left to rot in the killer’s hope that they would never be found … so that any evidence that might connect the killer to the crimes would be lost forever – lost in the bush, in the dirt, in the foliage that he left them in,” she said.

“Despite the killer’s best efforts, miraculously the bodies of those two young women were found.”

Ms Barbagallo said the absence of Ms Spiers’ body meant the killer’s identity would be proved in other ways.

She said the community had lived in fear “caused by an enigma of the dark” and in coming months the prosecution would demystify that enigma.

“There was one killer and that killer was Bradley Robert Edwards,” she said.

Among those in the packed public gallery are the parents of the victims including Don and Carol Spiers, Jenny Rimmer and Denis Glennon.

Edwards was due to face a nine-month trial, but his shock confession last month that he committed five offences – including the double rape of a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta cemetery in 1995 and a separate attack on an 18-year-old woman sleeping at her Huntingdale home in 1988 – has shortened proceedings to about six months.