The man accused of the Claremont serial killings has been committed to stand trial in WA’s Supreme Court after formally pleading not guilty to the murders of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, and the sexual assault of two other women.
Bradley Robert Edwards, 49, appeared in the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court today via video link from Hakea Prison, where he has been held since his arrest at his Kewdale home more than 19 months ago.
Wearing prison greens and glasses, Mr Edwards showed no emotion as all nine charges he is facing were put to him by Magistrate Jan Whitbread.
He replied: “Not guilty.”
He is accused of abducting and murdering 18-year-old Ms Spiers in January 1996, 23-year-old Ms Rimmer five months later and 27-year-old Ms Glennon in March 1997.
All three women disappeared from the popular Claremont entertainment strip in Perth’s western suburbs.
The bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were found in the weeks after their disappearances – Ms Rimmer’s in bush at Wellard, south of Perth, and Ms Glennon’s in bush at Eglington, north of the city.
Ms Spiers’s body has never been found.
Both Ms Spiers’s father, Don, and Ms Glennon’s father, Denis, were in court for Mr Edwards’s appearance, accompanied by detectives who have worked on the case.
Mr Edwards is also accused of the sexual assault of a woman in her Huntingdale home in 1988, and the abduction and rape of a 17-year-old girl in Karrakatta Cemetery near Claremont in February 1995 – one year before Ms Spiers disappeared.
A woman understood to be the victim of the alleged cemetary attack was also present in court today.
Mr Edwards was remanded in custody, but a trial date is yet to be set.
Prosecutors have requested provisional trial dates starting from May 1, 2019, to the end of the year.
But Ms Whitbread said she was unable to set the dates down because they needed approval from a Supreme Court jury
Mr Edwards has the option of applying for his trial to be determined by a judge sitting without a jury because of the enormous amount of publicity the case has attracted over the past 22 years.
It is likely to be one of the largest trials ever to come before the WA courts, with the amount of material collected by investigators running into the millions of pages.
That material was collected during more than 20 years of investigations into the disappearance of the three women, mostly done by a special taskforce code-named Macro.
The taskforce was established after the disappearance of Ms Rimmer in June 1996 and investigated thousands of people, including taxi drivers and people identified as being in Claremont at the key times.
Despite repeated public appeals and reviews of the case, it was not until December 2016 that, seemingly out of the blue, Mr Edwards was arrested.
He is likely to remain in custody until his trial is completed.