Defence lawyer for accused Claremont serial killer examines the nights two murder victims vanished as the seven-month trial draws to a close
- Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, is accused of being Perth’s ‘Claremont serial killer’
- Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, were killed in 1996-97
- Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has faced a lengthy trial
- Defence lawyer Paul Yovich suggests lack of evidence to Edwards killing Spiers
Justice will not be served by convicting the wrong person of murdering ‘blameless victim’ Sarah Spiers, the lawyer for the accused Claremont serial killer has told his Perth trial.
Confessed rapist and ex-Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, denies murdering secretary Ms Spiers, 18, childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, in the mid-1990s.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich continued his lengthy closing submissions in the WA Supreme Court on Tuesday, turning to the night Ms Spiers vanished in January 1996.
Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured) is accused of murdering secretary Sarah Spiers, childcare worker Jane Rimmer and solicitor Ciara Glennon in 1996 and 1997
‘We don’t intend to trivialise Ms Spiers’ death or disrespect her. Quite the contrary,’ he said.
‘The murder of Sarah Spiers was a grave crime and she is a blameless victim.
‘But neither her memory nor the interest of justice is served by convicting the wrong person of this crime, nor by convicting the accused on evidence that does not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.’
Some witnesses gave evidence they heard ‘bloodcurdling screams’ in nearby Mosman Park on the night she disappeared.
Wayne Stewart testified he heard two doors slam and saw a light-coloured station wagon with its lights on about 100 metres away.
Mr Stewart said the vehicle looked like a Toyota Corona. Edwards drove a Toyota Camry at the time.
Mr Yovich said Mr Stewart was the only witness who saw anything that might connect Edwards to the scream and therefore, according to prosecutors, to Ms Spiers’ murder.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo described Mr Stewart’s testimony as compelling, but Mr Yovich said the state had accepted Mr Stewart’s evidence to be correct except the exact description of the car.
Edwards is accused of murdering childcare worker Jane Rimmer (left) and secretary Sarah Spiers (right) in 1996 and 1997
Edwards had visited his estranged wife on the night of Ms Spiers’ murder and had work early the next morning, the court heard
He said it would be ‘unsafe’ to conclude the car Mr Stewart saw was linked to Ms Spiers or that it was Edwards’ vehicle.
‘Your Honour can’t even be sure that the screams and car are associated.’
Mr Yovich questioned why a murderer would drive Ms Spiers to a well-lit street near a phone box and a block of flats.
He also pointed out Edwards had visited his estranged wife that night and had work early the next morning.
Although it did not constitute an alibi, Mr Yovich said logic suggested Edwards was unlikely to be the killer.
‘It defies belief that he would choose this night (to commit murder).’
Ms Spiers’ body has never been found, but Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were dumped in bushland at opposite ends of Perth.
Mr Yovich said any similarities between Ms Spiers’ death and the other murders were minimal and speculative.
Ciara Glennon, 27, the third victim of the Claremont serial killer, allegedly Edwards
Regarding Ms Rimmer’s murder in June 1996, Mr Yovich said the descriptions from two couples who heard screams in Wellard were different and may have been separate incidents.
He said unlike the double rape of a teenager at Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, which Edwards admits committing, there was nothing to indicate Ms Rimmer had been bound and gagged.
Mr Yovich also said it was outlandish that Edwards, if he was the killer, would discard a Telstra knife in the area.
Prosecutors do not suggest it is the murder weapon.
The trial, which is almost seven months in, has heard from more than 200 witnesses, while scientific evidence includes DNA and fibre analysis.