A nightmare of rape and murder that has haunted Perth for more than 20 years will crytallise in court this week as the trial of accused serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards finally begins.
The trial comes almost three years after the accused Telstra technician was charged with the Claremont serial killings of secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, child care worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and lawyer Ciara Glennon, 27, who were all last seen in the entertainment strip of the affluent suburb in 1996 and 1997.
During the final pre-trial hearing last month, the 50-year-old pleaded guilty to five other charges, including aggravated burglary and two counts of deprivation of liberty.
These offences stemmed from an attack on an 18-year-old woman in her bed as her parents slept in a nearby room in Huntingdale in 1988, and the abduction and double rape of a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta cemetery in 1995.
His confession means the trial will only need to cover the triple homicides, reducing the nine-month trial to about six months or less.
Shocking details have already emerged during pre-trial hearings, including Edwards’ previous conviction for attacking a social worker from behind at Hollywood Hospital where he was working for Telstra in 1990.
Edwards covered her mouth and tried to drag her into nearby toilets but she broke free. Cable ties were later found in his pocket and he was sentenced to two years probation for common assault.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo has argued Edwards was obsessed with women’s undergarments and his crimes escalated over time. She said the murders correlated with significant moments during the breakdown of his first marriage, but stopped after he met his second wife.
It included his wife’s refusal to watch Australia Day fireworks with him hours before Ms Spiers vanished, her revelation she was having a baby with another man shortly before Ms Rimmer was murdered, and the sale of the matrimonial home days before Ms Glennon was killed.
A breakthrough in the case involved the retesting of DNA on a silk kimono that was left behind after the Huntingdale attack, which allegedly matched Edwards.
Ms Barbagallo said Edwards’ DNA was also found on the cemetery victim and under Ms Glennon’s fingernails.
It is further alleged fibres from Telstra work trousers were found on Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, and on clothes from the Karrakatta victim.
Fibres from the same make and model as Edwards’ work car were also allegedly found on Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon.
The remains of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer were discovered in bushland weeks after their murders, but Ms Spiers has never been found.
Justice Stephen Hall is presiding over the trial without a jury.
He previously ruled Edwards’ collection of thousands of BDSM images, violent sexual stories describing the abduction of women, and a film called Forced Entry depicting the rape and torture of women were irrelevant.
The Supreme Court trial, to hear from hundreds of witnesses including overseas experts, is scheduled to begin on Monday.
– with AAP