The father of Claremont murder victim Ciara Glennon has spoken of how his courageous and spirited daughter fought for her life and secured the DNA evidence that proved vital to her killer’s conviction more than 20 years later.
In a powerful statement on behalf of the family, Denis Glennon said his daughter’s abduction and brutal murder after a night out with friends in Perth in 1997 had taken a physical, emotional and spiritual toll on her loved ones.
But the conviction of Bradley Robert Edwards has provided Mr Glennon and his wife Una with peace and a belief that justice has been done.
Cellular material found under Ms Glennon’s fingernails was finally matched to Edwards’ DNA in 2016.
In convicting Edwards for the murder of Ms Glennon, 23, and 27-year-old Jane Rimmer, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said he was satisfied the DNA under Ms Glennon’s fingernails had got there during a violent struggle shortly before her death.
“When Ciara was deemed a missing person, I appealed for help to find her,” Mr Glennon said on Friday.
“Through tears I said she would fight for her life because of the way she was brought up. She would fight for her life.
“Little did we know then how prophetic these words would be. As she fought to save her life, she left us the vital DNA clues.
“Ciara was strong in spirit and had great courage. But yet as she fought to save her life, she could not save herself because of the brutal assault by her murderer.”
Mr Glennon revealed the family had not been permitted to view his daughter’s body because her injuries were deemed too gruesome.
He later saw photographs of her fatal injuries in an autopsy report.
“For 23 years, I have lived with those images,” he said.
Edwards was acquitted of murdering a third woman, Sarah Spiers, whose body has never been found.
Justice Hall said Edwards’ propensity for violent abductions made it likely he was also Ms Spiers’ killer but it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Mr Glennon praised the work of detectives in bringing Edwards to justice, saying he had no criticism of their handling of the enormous investigation.
He also criticised some media reporting, which cast doubt on the investigative work, inflicting “needless additional suffering” on the family.
“We never doubted their commitment to find the person who murdered Ciara,” he said.
Mr Glennon acknowledged and thanked Justice Hall, lead prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo and police chief Chris Dawson, adding that the family’s thoughts and prayers remained with Don and Carol Spiers, the parents of Sarah Spiers.
Police have vowed the search for Ms Spiers’ body will continue and detectives plan to re-interview Edwards in the hope he might reveal any information he might have.
The family and friends of Ms Rimmer said they had endured 24 years of anguish at the loss of the “young, vibrant” woman.
“Jane had her whole life ahead of her, and it is almost beyond comprehension this could have ended in such horrific, heinous circumstances,” they said in a statement.
Mr Glennon said for his family, the past was “engulfed by sadness”.
“But as a family, the past is transcended by the fond memories of Ciara … caressed by her spirit, her ready friendship and, above all, her courage,” he said.