Edwards guilty of two Claremont murders

Bradley Robert Edwards has been found guilty of two murders, but not guilty of a third.
Bradley Robert Edwards has been found guilty of two murders, but not guilty of a third.

Confessed rapist Bradley Robert Edwards has been found guilty of murdering two women in Perth in the 1990s but acquitted of slaying a third woman.

Edwards, 51, denied abducting and killing secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, after they each spent a night out with friends in the affluent Claremont suburb's pubs in 1996 and 1997.

The ex-Telstra technician faced a marathon seven-month trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia which concluded in late June.

Justice Stephen Hall on Thursday delivered his long-anticipated verdicts, finding Edwards guilty of murdering Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon but not guilty of murdering Ms Spiers.

The bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were discovered in bushland weeks after they were killed, but Ms Spiers' body has never been found.

Edwards shook his head when the guilty verdicts were delivered.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

There were emotional scenes after the hearing concluded with prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson embracing members of the victims' families, including Ms Spiers' parents Don and Carol.

"We will never give up trying to locate Sarah," Mr Dawson said outside court.

Justice Hall said he was satisfied Ms Spiers had also been abducted and killed, but prosecutors had failed to prove her killer's identity beyond reasonable doubt.

Edwards was charged with the murder of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon after a raid on his Kewdale home in December 2016.

He was charged with Ms Spiers' murder in February 2018.

Justice Hall concluded Edwards had abducted both Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon and that a violent struggle had ensued with both women before he used a knife or another sharp object to fatally stab or slash them.

He said the evidence showing Edwards' propensity for violent abductions "makes it more likely" that Edwards was the killer of Ms Spiers.

But he said it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt in the absence of any other evidence about the killer's identity.

The judge said there were significant similarities between the circumstances of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon's disappearances and deaths.

Similarities with Ms Spiers' case were more general in nature, he said.

Edwards had insisted he was not the notorious predator who stalked women in Perth's wealthiest suburbs in the mid-1990s.

Justice Hall spent almost three months considering the evidence which included testimony from more than 200 witnesses.

It took him about 20 minutes to deliver a verbal summary of his written judgment which spans more than 600 pages.

Hundreds of people queued outside the WA District Court building from 4am, packing the courtroom and two overflow public galleries.

Edwards committed his first known offence against women in 1988, breaking into the Huntingdale home of an 18-year-old acquaintance and indecently assaulting her as she slept.

It provided the crucial piece of evidence homicide detectives needed to arrest him almost 29 years later.

He'd left behind a semen-stained silk kimono stolen from a washing line and when it was finally tested in November 2016, DNA matched swabs taken from a teenager he abducted from Claremont then raped at nearby Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995.

It also matched cellular material found under Ms Glennon's fingernails.

"I am satisfied ... it got there in the course of a violent struggle that occurred sometime shortly before her death," Justice Hall said.

Fibre evidence had established that both the murder victims had been in Edwards' Telstra work vehicle shortly before their deaths, he added.

Jane Rimmer's sister Lee said she was pleased to see Edwards brought to justice..

"It means that I can hopefully get on with the rest of my life without all this stuff," she said.

Ms Barbagallo, who led the prosecution, and Edwards' defence counsel Paul Yovich both declined to comment on the verdicts.

Edwards will return to court for sentencing submissions on December 23.

Australian Associated Press