The Crime that Shattered Perth to its very core…..
Perth in Western Australia had always been a laid-back, country like city. It was safe to go out at night – it was safe for females to walk on their own at night. Nothing ever happened in Perth. Well except for the Birnies and Eric Edgar Cooke – but that was a long time ago.
That was until the 27th January 1996.
The Night Sarah Spiers Went Missing
On the 27th January 1996, Sarah Spiers, a bubbly and affectionate office worker, 18 years of age called for a taxi to get a ride home after a night out with friends at a nightclub (Club Bayview) located in the middle of Claremont. Sarah shared a flat with her sister in South Perth, however she had made arrangements to stay at a friends house at Mosman Park that night.
At about 2am, Sarah had walked a short distance to a phone booth to call for a taxi. The call was made at 2.06am. However, when the called taxi arrived (only three minutes after the phone call), Sarah was gone. Despite a massive search, no trace of Sarah has ever been found. The whole of Perth came together to try and find Sarah. Fliers went up on power poles all over Perth. Friends and family of Sarah door-knocked.
Loud, blood-curdling screams were heard in the vicinity of Mosman Park on the night Sarah went missing.
Just a few months later on the 9th of June 1996, Jane Rimmer, 23 years of age and a unlike child care worker also disappeared after a Saturday night out with friends, but Sarah Spiers, her body was discovered in bushland South of Perth at Woolcott Road, Wellard about a month later. She was offered a shared taxi ride home with a friend but declined, she left alone and wasn’t seen alive again. CCTV of Jane leaving the hotel was released in 2008. The footage showed that Jane was waiting for a ride, then a man walks past and she smiles at him – a smile of recognition. No identification of that male has been made.
Jane’s body had been found naked with a significant ‘defect’ to her neck.
On the night that Jane was murdered, loud high-pitched screams were heard near Woolcoot Road in Wellard. The screams stopped abruptly.
On the 14th of March 1997, Ciara Glennon, a 27-year-old lawyer also vanished after a night out in Claremont. It was a Friday night and she had not long returned from overseas to work in Perth. After drinks in the city, Ciara and her friends arrived at the Claremont Hotel, but she only stayed a short while before heading home for an early night. Left on her own to catch a taxi, she too was never seen alive again.
Her body later was found on the 3rd of April 1997 in scrubland north of Perth.
Her mother remembers, immediately fearing the worst when Ciara didn’t arrive home that night and receiving no peace from phone calls to her friends. She guessed that her daughter too had fallen victim to the same killer responsible for previous deaths. She said that she knew 100% that Ciara probably wouldn’t be found alive. Three weeks later, Ciara’s body was found by a bushwalker.
Ciara was not found naked like Jane, however, her skirt had been pushed up around her waist suggesting a sexual assault. Her throat had been cut. It was apparent that Ciara had fought for her life.
Much later, DNA was found beneath one of Ciara’s nails. All three women had been seen at the local hotel, The Continental (now known as the Claremont Hotel), before their disappearances.
It was at this time that the police realised they were searching for a serial killer.
Hunt for the Claremont Serial Killer
The local community was filled with a sense of fear for the safety of their kids, terrified to realise there was a killer in their midst. It was suggested at one point that the perpetrator may be a taxi driver as all three women had been looking for a way home after their night out and phone records had proven Sarah Spiers had called for a taxi. This led to many young women refusing to catch cabs and instead relying on alternative methods of transport or designating drivers amongst their friendship groups.
A police task force was set up. Codenamed ‘Macro’, the WA Police called in experts from across Australia and around the world. At Easter in 1997, thousands of WA taxi drivers were DNA tested and had their backgrounds extensively checked with no new leads found.
There were suspects though. One such suspect, Lance Williams, a public servant, lived close to Claremont. He had been spotted regularly driving around Claremont at night, following women as they left the local clubs and bars. He was kept under police surveillance for several years, day and night, and although he was subjected to a number of intensive interviews, even failing a lie detector test, he has never been charged. He has not, however, been eliminated as a suspect entirely.
Other persons of interest included a taxi driver and tenant of the former Mayor of Claremont, Peter Weygers. Thorough investigation resulted in no evidence being found linking him to the crimes. Peter Weygers was also the mayor at the time of the disappearance/killings and was targeted by the victims’ families concerning the town’s duty of care regarding the security of the area. Mr Weygers had many investment properties, one being inhabited by an ex-taxi driver who had a few old taxis on his property.
Even Bradley James Murdoch, the man charged and jailed for the murder and disappearance of Peter Falconio has been investigated as a possible suspect.
In 2006, DNA samples were requested from UK officials for Mark Dixie (AKA Shane Turner), who was convicted in the UK of the 2005 murder of model Sally Bowman. WA Police later stated that although he had been a prime suspect, he had been thoroughly investigated and ruled out as a suspect.
Twelve years after Jane Rimmer’s disappearance, CCTV footage was aired on television of Jane talking to an unidentified man outside the Claremont Hotel, where she had been drinking that fateful night. Although Crime Stoppers received 150 calls in response, it proved unfruitful.
CCTV of Jane Finally Released to the Public
In August 2008, Western Australian Police released CCTV footage of Jane Rimmer leaving the Continental Hotel.
Finally An Arrest is Made
Finally on the 22nd December 2016, Police announced an arrest had been made. Bradley Robert Edwards, 51 was charged with the three murders. The DNA found under the nails of Ciara Glennon was a match for the abduction and rape of a 17 year old woman back in 1995 at the Karrakatta Cemetery.
The woman said that she had been out for the night at Club Bay View in Claremont and was walking home when she was grabbed from behind, a piece of cloth stuffed in her mouth and she was tied up with cord and a bag placed over her head . The man drove around for 20 – 30 minutes before taking her to a remote part of the Karrakatta Cemetery.
The woman was brutally raped multiple times in the cemetery. The woman pretended to be unconscious and the man ‘threw’ her into some bushes before driving away. The woman ran from the cemetery naked to the nearby Hollywood Hospital where a rape kit was undertaken and the DNA taken.
The woman described her attacker as very heavily built, tall and caucasian with brown hair.
The DNA also matched an attack on a woman in Huntingdale in 1988. The man broke into a house and attacked a girl, however she managed to scream and her parents (in the next room) came to her rescue. The man left behind a Kimono with semen stains.
Bradley Robert Edwards around the time of the murders
Who is Bradley Robert Edwards?
Bradley Robert Edwards grew up in Huntingdale with his parents and younger brother and sister. His father worked for Telstra and Bradley followed in his footsteps and worked for Telstra as a technician his whole working life.
When he was arrested, he had recently separated from his wife of 20 years, and was residing with his step-daughter in a home in Acton Avenue, Kewdale. The two had met in 1997 when he had attended her workplace to do telecommunications work and he asked her to go out with him. This was only two weeks after the murder of Ciara Glennon. Frighteningly, their first date which was at McDonalds, his wife took her two-year-old daughter to meet him.
Bradley Edwards had previously been married and was separated when the attacks occurred. His first wife had become pregnant to a mutual flatmate.
He had previously been charged with an attack on a social worker at Hollywood Hospital in 1990.
February 15, 1998
An 18 year old woman is assaulted in her home when a man broke into her house in Huntingdale. Her attacker fled when the girl raised the alarm. The attacker left behind a semen-stained Komono.
February 12, 1995
A 17-year-old woman is attacked from behind when walking home from the Claremont area. She is bound and gagged and raped in the Karrakatta Cemetery. DNA is taken from the rape.
January 27, 1996
18-Year-old Sarah Spiers disappears after a night out in Claremont. She leaves the club before calling for a taxi to take her to Mosman Park. She is never seen again and her body has never been found.
June 9, 1996
23-year-old Jane Rimmer disappears after leaving Club Bayview in Claremont. She is last seen on CCTV waiting outside the club.
August 3, 1996
Jane Rimmer’s body is found in Wellard.
March 15, 1997
27-year-old Ciara Glennon is the last seen walking along Stirling Highway after a night out at the Continental Hotel in Claremont. She was last seen leaning into a white Commodore.
April 3, 1997
Ciara’s body is found in bushland in Eglington, north of Perth.
October 16, 2015
A forensic link between Ciara Glennon and the woman who was raped in Karrakatta is established.
December 23, 2016
Bradley Robert Edwards is arrested for the rape of the women at Karrakatta, and the murder of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.
February 22, 2018
The accused is also charged with the murder of Sarah Spiers
November 25, 2019
The judge-alone trial starts in the Western Australian Supreme Court
On the 24th September 2020, Bradley Robert Edwards was charged for the murder of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon. As there was not enough evidence to prove that he murdered Sarah Spiers, the charge was not guilty.
Read the formal court transcripts here