true crime

"A trial like no other": Bradley Robert Edwards has been found guilty of two Claremont killings.

This post deals includes graphic details of violence that might be triggering for some readers. 

More than two decades after the lives of Ciara Glennon and Jane Rimmer were cruelly taken, their families have finally received justice.

Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, was today found guilty of murdering the two women, who vanished from the affluent Perth suburb of Claremont in the mid-1990s.

The former Little Athletics coach and Telstra technician was, however, acquitted of killing 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, who also disappeared from the area around the same time.

Delivering the long-awaited verdict in Western Australia's Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Hall concluded that Spiers was likely murdered but said that, without forensic evidence, it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. 


The women all disappeared within a 22-month period from 1996 to 1997, and the remains of Glennon and Rimmer were later found dumped outside the city. 

Spiers' body has never been found.

The case, known as the 'Claremont killings', become one of the longest-running and most expensive police investigations in the nation's history.

Here's how it unfolded.

What were the Claremont killings?

The disappearances of three women from the same entertainment district have become engrained in Australian cold case folklore.

It all started with Sarah Spiers.

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The secretary vanished shortly after 2 am on January 27, 1996, following a night out with friends at Club Bayview in downtown Claremont.

Sitting in the front row of a packed public gallery during Edwards' trial late last year, her parents Don and Carol Spiers listened to the last ever recording of their daughter’s voice.

The chirpy and youthful sounding 18-year-old called Swan Taxis to book a ride at 2:06am. But when booked cab 232 turned up, she was nowhere to be seen.

Hours later, four separate witnesses heard a woman’s high-pitched scream in the nearby suburb of Mosman Park.

Sarah Spiers. Image: AAP. 


Six months later, another mystery befell the region, when childcare worker Jane Rimmer failed to show up for lunch at her parents' home on Sunday, June 9. The 23-year-old was last seen outside the Continental Hotel in the early hours of that morning, after hopping between three local venues with friends.

During Edwards' trial, the court was shown never-before-seen CCTV images taken by the pub cameras. They captured Rimmer walking with a male friend and checking her watch while outside the pub. A dark-haired man approaches, just as the camera cuts away.

There’s a 13-second gap in the footage, when other cameras at the hotel were recording instead. When the front camera returns at about four minutes past midnight, Rimmer is gone.

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Two separate couples heard screaming that night and sounds of a car driving off.

Rimmer's body was found by chance 55 days later, in a bush grave on the city's outskirts, in an advanced state of decomposition, just metres from the road.

The court heard she was naked and lying face down, her body carefully concealed with branches and foliage that had been ripped from nearby trees. A blacked out photo of her body in the bushland was shown in the court, while her family watched on.

Rimmer's left arm was unusually bent, consistent with being dragged, and she was dumped before rigor mortis took hold. She had a neck injury inflicted in a cutting or "even a sawing action" the court heard.

Glennon, 27, had just returned from a year travelling overseas, and was preparing to resume her career as a lawyer and be her sister's bridesmaid in a few weeks' time. She had also spent the night at the Continental Hotel, before setting off on foot in the direction of her parent's house. 

She was last seen leaning into the window of a station wagon by three young men. The trio have become known as the "burger boys" due to the fact they were eating Hungry Jack's burgers at a bus stop when they noticed the interaction.

Glennon's body was found three weeks later in bushland in a strikingly similar pose to Rimmer, also covered in trees and foliage. She had the same cuts to her neck, as well as her back and shoulder, along with injuries on her arm that were likely self defence injuries.

Catching a killer.

It was DNA that led police to Bradley Robert Edwards.

Edwards committed his first known offence against women in 1988, breaking into the Huntingdale home of an 18-year-old acquaintance and indecently assaulting her as she slept.

It provided the crucial piece of evidence homicide detectives needed to arrest him almost 29 years later.

He'd left behind a semen-stained silk kimono stolen from a washing line and when it was finally tested in November 2016, DNA matched swabs taken from a teenager he abducted from Claremont then raped at nearby Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995.

It also matched cellular material found under Ciara Glennon's fingernails.

Fibre evidence also established that Rimmer and Glennon had both been in Edwards' Telstra work vehicle shortly before their deaths.

Edwards didn't admit the Huntingdale and Karrakatta crimes until the month before his judge-alone trial began, but maintained he was innocent of murdering the three women.

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The trial spanned 95 sitting days over seven months and heard from 240 witnesses.

Justice Hall described it as "a trial like no other".

"The events in question occurred more than 20 years ago but have haunted the memory of many people and troubled the public conscience," he said in his verdict. 

"The disappearance and likely murder of three young women was in itself enough to cause wide concern. The fact that all three went missing from a popular nightlife area frequented by many young people inspired a real and pervasive sense of fear."

When the final decision was handed down today, Bradley Robert Edwards shook his head and members of the public gallery gasped.

"Sarah and her family deserve justice": Police. 

Speaking outside court after the judgement, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the investigation into Sarah Spiers' murder remains open.

"The justice system has taken its course, and Bradley Edwards has now been convicted of killing two of those women, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon," he said.

"We will never give up trying to locate Sarah, and I have conveyed that to Don and Carol Spiers today and to Amanda.

"Sarah and her family deserve justice."

Edwards will return to court for sentencing submissions on December 23.

Feature image: AAP.

- With AAP.

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