Bradley Robert Edwards’ defence team has attempted to poke holes in the so-called ’emotional upset’ evidence prosecutors partly rely on in the Claremont serial killings trial.
The 50-year-old ex-Telstra technician is accused of murdering secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, child care worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and lawyer Ciara Glennon, 27, after abducting or luring them into his work car at night in 1996 and 1997.
His ex-wife, whose identity is suppressed, was the first witness to give evidence in the Western Australia Supreme Court trial, saying their relationship started to unravel after he became distant.
She then had an affair with a friend-turned-boarder with whom she later had a child.
This photo shows Edwards during happier times in his first marriage, which collapsed after he became distant and she had an affair
After the married couple separated in late 1995 or early 1996, the woman briefly moved in with her parents.
One evening, the former Little Athletics coach arrived unannounced but there was no discussion about their separation and no display of anger.
He stayed for dinner but she declined his offer to watch fireworks together.
‘I just said no, I didn’t want to go to the fireworks,’ she said.
Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured left in an undated photo and right in a court sketch) 50, is accused of committing the Claremont serial killings in 1996 and 1997
‘He accepted it.’
The ex-wife could not recall what event the fireworks were for.
Prosecutors allege it was Australia Day and Edwards killed Ms Spiers later that night.
The ex-wife said she told Edwards about her pregnancy when she was living at her partner’s new home around May or June 1996 and said their conversation was civil.
But gas records referred to by defence counsel Paul Yovich showed her new partner, whose identity is also suppressed, had moved into that property in September 1996, contradicting her evidence.
Asked if she could have been mistaken about the date, she replied: ‘I don’t remember, yes’.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo looks on while walking from the West Australian District Court
Ms Rimmer was murdered on June 9 and prosecutors allege Edwards found out about the pregnancy shortly beforehand.
The ex-wife was also asked about the sale of their marital home, which prosecutors allege was a moment of emotional upset for Edwards, with Ms Glennon murdered days later.
The woman said she was not involved in the sale and received no money from it.
The court also heard that she had returned there, while living with her new lover, and had sex with Edwards after attending a family event with him.
The next morning, she asked him if they were doing the right thing, suggesting they sort out their marriage, but he was non-responsive.
Western Australian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall granted media requests to release photos tendered as exhibits in alleged Claremont serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards’ murder trial
‘He didn’t say anything to me at all,’ she said.
‘He never made any comment about us separating.
‘He did not ask me to return.’
Edwards remained expressionless in the dock as the intimate details emerged.
The ex-wife also said Edwards had always dropped her off and picked her up from work, but once failed to collect her after an ‘incident’ at Hollywood Hospital, which came after she pushed him to get married and they had an argument.
The court previously heard the ‘incident’ was an attack on a social worker in 1990, which earnt him an assault conviction and an order to complete a sex offender program.
The second witness was former friend Karen McInroy, who said she saw the ex-wife flirt with the boarder in front of Edwards on New Year’s Eve in 1994 shortly before they began their affair.
A supplied image obtained on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, shows alleged Claremont serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards
She said after the married couple separated, Edwards turned up at her house unannounced in early 1997 and during a 15-minute conversation became upset that she had not yet visited his ex-wife after she delivered her baby.
Ms McInroy said she had never seen him like that before.
‘He was quite upset,’ she said.
‘It was quite intense. He definitely changed.’
Edwards last month admitted to five offences stemming from an attack on a sleeping 18-year-old woman in Huntingdale in 1988, and the abduction and double rape of a teenager at Karrakatta cemetery in 1995.
DAY THREE OF THE CLAREMONT SERIAL KILLINGS TRIAL:
* Bradley Robert Edwards’ first-wife, whose identity is suppressed, was the first witness to testify after two days of opening addresses.
* She said their marriage began to deteriorate when he spent long hours on a computer at night, leaving her to go to bed alone.
* When Edwards saw her hug a male friend who had moved into their spare room and kiss him on the cheek, he was upset but “didn’t say too much” and never made her feel ashamed or guilty.
* She realised she had feelings for the other man and was confused about what she wanted, so she moved into her parent’s home to think about it.
* When Edwards turned up unannounced, she rejected his request to watch fireworks together but they got along well and had dinner.
* She could not recall the event. But prosecutors allege they were the 1996 Australia Day fireworks and later that night, Edwards killed Sarah Spiers.
* After living with her parents for about two weeks, the woman decided to move into the other man’s home and separate from Edwards, but their interactions afterwards were civil.
* She said she even attended a cordial event with Edwards’ family, then returned to the marital property and had sex with him.
* But when she suggested they reconcile the next morning, he said nothing, gave the impression he did not want to patch things up and “never again was the subject brought up”.
* He never commented about their separation, but neatly packaged her belongings and left them for her to collect, and remained civil after learning she was pregnant to the other man.
* Prosecutors allege Edwards murdered Jane Rimmer days later.
* They also allege he killed Ciara Glennon shortly after the matrimonial home was sold.
* The first wife also said at one point she returned to the property to collect her dog after the RSPCA told her it had been left alone, with nobody living there.
* She also told the court Edwards lost weight after they broke up and he met someone else, saying he was “more built, like when we’d first met. Lean, no fat”.
* The woman said she and Edwards did not frequent Claremont, and while they owned a horse, they never went to a riding school in Wellard, near bushland where Ms Rimmer’s body was found.