Claremont serial killer accused Bradley Edwards linked to ‘stories of interest’ as trial date set

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Updated

December 18, 2018 18:05:03

State prosecutors want to lead evidence about “stories of interest” they say were written or downloaded by the alleged Claremont serial killer as part of their case against him for the murders of three women in Perth more than 20 years ago.

Key points:

  • Bradley Robert Edwards will stand trial in July 2019 accused of three counts of murder
  • The trial, one of the biggest in WA history, is scheduled to last nine months
  • Mr Edwards is accused of killing Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon

The revelation came at a pretrial hearing in WA’s Supreme Court for Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, who will face trial from July 22 next year accused of killing Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.

The trial had been tentatively listed to start in May, but it was pushed back to July after Mr Edwards’s lawyer, Paul Yovich SC, said that date was not feasible. It is set down to run for nine months.

The court heard DNA and fibre evidence would also form a key part of the case against Mr Edwards and the State had, or was going to, obtain reports from experts from PathWest and the Chem Centre in Western Australia, and from Cellmark which is an overseas-based company.

Ms Barbagallo said the majority of the DNA material had been disclosed to the defence, with Mr Yovich saying he now wanted to get his own expert to analyse the tens of thousands of pages he had recently received.

The court heard there would need to be pretrial hearings to deal with the admissibility of evidence, including what state prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo SC described as “stories of interest” either “downloaded or authored by the accused”.

The material was found when police analysed various electronic devices seized from Mr Edwards after his arrest at his Kewdale home in December 2016.

Ms Barbagallo said “one or two of the stories” had already been disclosed to the defence, but there were another “four or five” that were “of some interest to us” that would be provided at a later date.

Mr Yovich foreshadowed there would be an objection to the admissibility of the material, saying in particular the defence wanted to know “the dates within which this material is said to have been created or accessed”.

“That is of fundamental importance to us,” he told the court.

Trial comes after two decades of questions

Mr Edwards appeared at the hearing via video link from Hakea Prison while members of the Spiers and Glennon families watched proceedings from the public gallery.

It has been more than 22 years since 18-year-old Ms Spiers vanished in the early hours of the morning on January 27, 1996, after a night out in Claremont.

She has never been found.

Five months later, Ms Rimmer, 23, disappeared from the same area. Her body was found almost a month later at Wellard, south of Perth.

Ciara Glennon then vanished in March 1997, also after a night out in Claremont.

Her body was found about two weeks later in bushland at Eglington, north of Perth.

Mr Edwards is also accused of attacking a woman in her own home in 1988 and of abducting and raping a 17-year-old girl in February 1995, just under a year before Ms Spiers disappeared.

Medical evidence, Telstra records sought

The court hearing was told the defence had recently received tens of thousands of pages of material dealing with DNA, hair and fibre evidence — material they wanted their own experts to analyse and provide reports on.

The court heard prosecutors were also seeking to obtain statements about Mr Edwards’s medical records, as well as information from Telstra, where Ms Barbagallo said the accused “had worked all his life”.

“It relates to pretty much his employment records, personal leave and vehicles he drove,” she said.

A hearing will be conducted in February to decide whether the evidence about the stories would be admitted.

Justice Stephen Hall is due to oversee the judge-only trial when it begins next year, and is also expected to be called upon to make any pretrial rulings.

Justice Hall questioned whether the defence would be seeking to have the February hearing closed to the public and media because of the “potential for the integrity of the evidence to be compromised”.

Mr Yovich said he would consider the issue and, if any applications were to be made, they would be done in January.

Mr Edwards was again remanded in custody at the end of the hearing until he appears for another pretrial hearing in four weeks.

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

murder-and-manslaughter,

courts-and-trials,

claremont-6010,

perth-6000,

wa

First posted

December 18, 2018 15:09:37



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