News National Cold case reopened: Tragedy of the Claremont victims

Cold case reopened: Tragedy of the Claremont victims

claremont victims
The three women who disappeared from Claremont in the late 90s (from left): Sarah Spiers, Ciara Glennon, and Jane Rimmer. Photo: ABC
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Late on Thursday night a 20-year-old mystery was reopened with the arrest of a man believed to have been responsible for the murder of three women in the Perth suburb of Claremont in the late 1990s.

On Friday West Australian police revealed they had taken a 48-year-old man from Kewdale into custody and charged him with the murders of 23-year-old Jane Rimmer and 27-year-old Ciara Glennon.

Bradley Robert Edwards appeared in court charged with murder, abduction and sexual assault and was remanded in custody, due to reappear at Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on January 11.

Police search a house in Kewdale on December 23. Photo: AAP

Mr Edwards is also accused of abducting a 17-year-old girl in Clarmeont in 1995 as well as indecently assaulting an 18-year-old woman during a break-in at a Huntingdale home in 1988.

The disappearance of a third woman, 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, around the same time as the deaths of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, is still under investigation.

All three women went missing on their way home from nights out with friends at Claremont hotspots and shared physical similarities: they were all young, beautiful and fair-haired.

The Claremont murders rocked the affluent western suburbs area in 1996 and 1997, changing the way locals behaved after dark and generating plenty of speculation as to who was responsible.

For a period, there was suspicion a taxi driver was the killer – two of the women were catching a cab before their disappearances – and many avoided taking taxis for months after the murders.

The ensuing investigation, named Task Force Macro, was Australia’s longest-running in history, involving hundreds of police officers.

With the looming possibility of closure for their grieving families, we remember the three women who didn’t know one another, but whose lives became inextricably linked.

Jane Louise Rimmer, 23

Jane Rimmer, victim of the Claremont serial killer

“Bubbly” child care worker Jane Rimmer had spent a night out with friends, hopping from bar to bar, when she disappeared on June 9 in 1996.

Her parents had been expecting her to join them for lunch that Sunday, but she would never come home.

While Ms Rimmer’s friends decided to catch a cab from outside the Continental Hotel in Claremont, Ms Rimmer declined to join them.

Instead, she stayed outside the Continental Hotel for a few minutes before disappearing completely.

Fifty-five days later, on August 3, her body was found in bushland near the suburb of Wellard.

In 2008, police released CCTV footage showing Ms Rimmer briefly speaking to an unidentified man before her disappearance, in the hope a member of the public may have been able to identify him. No one could.

Ciara Eilish Glennon, 27

A copy photo of Ciara Glennon. A graduation photo.

Lawyer Ciara Glennon was enjoying a Friday night out with friends in her hometown after recently returning from a stint overseas when she met an untimely end.

Born in Zambia before moving to Perth with her Irish parents at age five, Ms Glennon was an intelligent, driven woman who loved to travel.

She spoke Japanese and worked as a solicitor at a local law firm. Before her death, she took a year off work to travel around the world, visiting Israel, Turkey, Greece and Ireland.

She returned home in February 1997 to attend her sister Denise’s wedding, scheduled to take place the weekend she disappeared.

On March 14, 1997, Ms Glennon left her friends at the Claremont Hotel to catch a taxi home and was never seen alive again.

Nineteen days later a bushwalker stumbled upon her body on a track in scrubland in the suburb of Eglinton.

“We pray for Ciara all the time. When Una and I see a young woman of Ciara’s age we think of her,” Ms Glennon’s father Denis told the Irish Times on the second anniversary of his daughter’s death.

Sarah Spiers, 18

Missing girl Sarah Spiers.

The body of teenage secretary Sarah Spiers was never found following her disappearance after a night out with friends celebrating Australia Day in 1996.

Just after 2am on January 27, Ms Spiers told a friend she was tired and wanted to grab a cab home from popular Claremont nightspot Club Bay View.

When the “responsible” Ms Spiers failed to turn up for work the next morning, her family immediately went into panic. They handed out flyers, put her face on billboards and offered rewards for information, to no avail.

Earlier this year, Ms Spiers’ parents released a statement to mark 20 years since their daughters’ disappearance, thanking police for their support.

“Words are inadequate to describe our personal loss and heartbreak,” they said in the statement, released in January.

“It’s hard not to wonder what Sarah’s life, and ours, could have been had she not been taken from us. She was so full of life and had a great love of family.”

On Friday, her father Don Spiers posted a video on his Facebook page following the arrest, assuring friends he and his wife, Carol, were on holidays overseas and were “quite comfortable”.

“We were pre-warned with what was going to happen,” Mr Spiers said.

“The taskforce is staying in touch with us and keeping us up to date on what is happening.”

Posted by Don Spiers on 2016年12月22日

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