September 23, 2019

Bizarre Life of an accussed Serial Killer

Bradley Robert Edwards allegedly kept bizarrely modified women’s clothes, “homemade” sex toys and as a teenager was the “Huntingdale prowler”, prosecutors have claimed.

Claims about the odd world of the man accused of the serial killings and two other attacks have been made during a preliminary hearing ahead of his mammoth trial starting in July.

The allegations include extreme bondage pornography, stalking women while in his Telstra vehicle and carrying cable ties while attacking a woman and stuffing fabric into her mouth.

Prosecutors alleged in the Western Australian Supreme Court this week that Mr Edwards, now aged 50, escalated in his attacks against women from his late teens.

The prosecution claims early deviant behaviour culminated in the moments he abducted three women from Perth’s popular entertainment strip and murdered them.

Bradley Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the murders of the three women considered the Claremont victims, Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.

He has pleaded not guilty to a 1995 abduction and rape prosecutors allege mirrors a “story” found on his computer.

Edwards also denies a 1988 sexual attack, when he was aged 19, which prosecutors claim was part of a reign of terror on the same suburb he lived in with his parents by a figure dubbed at the time “the Huntingdale prowler”.

The allegations aired before Justice Stephen Hall this week will be either be included or ruled inadmissable by His Honour for the judge-only trial of Mr Edwards which starts in July.

So how do these allegations fit in with known and established facts of the life of Telstra technician and local sports administrator, Bradley Robert Edwards?

Bradley Edwards was born in December, 1968, the first of two sons to a father who was a technician in the Western Australian branch of the Postmaster General’s Department which operated the national telephone wires.

The brothers grew up in up in the southeastern Perth suburb of Huntingdale where Bradley also attended the local primary school.

His parents joined a number of other land owners who bought, subdivided and developed properties on Gay Street, Huntingdale which even today retains stretches of bushland.

The Edwards brothers attended Gosnells Senior High School, now Southern River College, a six minute drive away.

Bradley was a tall, dark-haired young man whose classmates remember as “quiet” and who they nicknamed “Bogsy”.

In the Gosnell Senior High school year satirical take on Year 12 students’ future ambitions, Brad Edwards was listed as “life member of AA”, presumably meaning Alcoholics Anonymous.

Soon after graduating in 1986, Bradley is believed to have joined the national telco, Telecom, the precursor to Telstra.

According to his trial prosecutors, he was a “socially awkward man”.

Starting in January 1988, a “prowler” was lurking around Huntingdale within a kilometre radius of the Edwards’ family home, stealing women’s underwear and nightgowns off clotheslines.

A man was said to have broken into a woman’s house in the area wearing a garment resembling a silk kimono, the court has heard.

On the same night of that reported incident, a male resident saw a prowler trying to open the rear sliding door of a Huntingdale property.

The resident said the prowler was male and wearing something “really funny, like a dressing gown”.

Police were called to the house and took finger and palm prints from the house’s rear door.

At Edwards’ pre-trial hearing this week, lead prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo alleged the prowler was Bradley Edwards who wore female garments he stole, including on one occasion underwear over his head.

On the evening of February 15, 1988, a man broke into a Huntingdale home where an 18-year-old woman was living with her parents and siblings, who were asleep in different rooms.

She woke to a man straddling her and trying to place a cloth in her mouth as she slept on her stomach.

The young woman struggled and her assailant fled – but left behind a white silk embroidered kimono and a pair of knotted black stockings.

The victim was aware of Bradley Edwards through her brother in the small, close-knit community of Perth in the 1980s but she did not know him directly.

Police took the kimono in as evidence but the attack was never solved and the garment was not DNA tested until years later.

It is part of the prosecution case against Bradley Edwards that DNA from the kimono matches his.

He has pleaded not guilty to deprivation of liberty and breaking and entering a dwelling in Huntingdale in February 1988.

Ms Barbagallo alleged this week before Justice Stephen Hall that Mr Edwards had a fetish with collecting and wearing women’s garments stemming from this period 30 years ago.

But Mr Edwards’s barrister, Paul Yovich SC, argued this week against the admissibility as evidence of his client’s conduct in the “Huntingdale Prowler” allegations.

Stealing women’s underwear in 1988 does not have any relevance to murdering women,” Mr Yovich said.

By early 1990, Bradley Edwards had met a woman who worked at a legal firm, and the young couple would later buy a house together on Fountain Way, Huntingdale, a few blocks from where his parents lived.

He had just turned 21 years old and was working for what was still then called Telecom as a contractor at Hollywood Hospital.

Situated in the affluent Perth suburb of Nedlands, the hospital is between Perth’s famous Kings Park on the Swan River and another exclusive suburb, Claremont.

The court heard this week that in May 1990, allegedly the day after being told by his girlfriend that she had been unfaithful to him, Bradley Edwards went up to a social worker who was at her desk working.

He grabbed her, stuffing a piece of fabric into the woman’s mouth and attempted to drag the woman into a toilet, but she kicked him and broke free, the court heard.

Security guards held the attacker, Bradley Edwards, until police arrived and charged him with common assault.

They allegedly found cable ties in his pocket.

Police fingerprinted him and Mr Edwards pleaded guilty to the charge, apologised and sentenced to two years’ probation.

He kept his telco job.

By the mid-1990s, Bradley Edwards’ employer had officially become Telstra, although the new branding and logo took some months to transition.

Prosecutor Barbagallo said around that time Mr Edwards had begun driving his Telstra work-issued car around Claremont and the beachside suburb of Cottesloe.

Ms Barbagallo outlined a series of incidents in which a man in a vehicle bearing a Telecom logo was driving around the suburbs, offering young women lifts.

One woman said the man told her he was driving around looking for “damsels in distress” like her.

The WA Supreme Court heard a woman, who confessed on the drive she’d been fighting with her boyfriend, was dropped home at the northern Perth suburb of Innaloo.

But then the driver followed her and tried to kiss her and she rejected him.

In another alleged incident, a sole male in a white car with a Telstra logo stopped and stared at two women waiting for a taxi, before driving away.

Ms Barbagallo alleged that the telco vehicle driving prowler was Bradley Edwards, and linked what she called the “Telstra living witness” evidence with the Huntingdale prowler incidents and the alleged Claremont killings.

She said Mr Edwards had “clear sexual motives … a tendency to prowl an area of familiarity in a distinct manner to create or seize opportunity,” she said.

But defence counsel Paul Yovich disputed this, the court heard.

They are very different ways in which these courses of conduct are gone about,” he said this week.

“Stealing women’s underwear in 1988 does not have any relevance to murdering women.”

Justice Stephen Hall also raised some concerns about the link between the Huntingdale prowler series and the Telstra living witness matter.

“One involved approaches to people’s houses at night, stealing items, going into a house on one occasion, attacking a sleeping victim,” he said.

“The Telstra living witness series involves a car, obviously, and approaching women on the street. What do you say about those differences?”

Ms Barbagallo said the difference was about time, place and circumstances.

“It’s what he’s doing,” she said. “So if you’re looking at the “where” you’ve got to look at the underlying conduct, what is it he is actually doing.

“If one looks at the where these offences are … the incidents are occurring in Huntingdale, they’re all occurring within one kilometre radius of his house.”

Just after midnight, in the very early hours of Sunday, February 12, 1995, a 17-year-old was walking home from Club Bay View in Claremont to a friend’s house via Rowe Park on Gugeri Street.

She had been walking for something over five minutes when she was grabbed from behind by a male attacker and pushed to the ground.

The assailant used a cord with a “pre-prepared, improvised handcuff knot” to bind the terrified teenager’s hands.

He placed a hood over her head, carried her to a vehicle and drove her one kilometre north to Karrakatta Cemetery, where he raped her twice.

She waited until his vehicle had left, and still naked from the waist down and bound by her wrists, made her way to Hollywood Hospital.

Medical staff took intimate swab samples.

This week, Ms Barbagallo told the WA Supreme Court that by January 1996, Bradley Edwards’ wife had left their Fountain Way house and their marriage.

“Not only did she leave him, but left him alone in the matrimonial house,” she said.

“He deals with it very badly — he’s drinking a lot, he’s been checked on by his friends.”

In January 1996, the still small Perth community was rocked by the disappearance of a teenage girl.

From country Western Australia, 18-year-old Sarah Spiers had moved to Perth to study at a business college and had found a secretarial job at a town planning company.

On the evening of Australia Day, 1996, a Friday night, Ms Spiers went with friends to Club Bay View in Claremont to celebrate.

It was about 2am on January 27, when Ms Spiers walked the 200m down to the main road, and called a taxi on a payphone for the trip home to the flat she shared with her sister Amanda.

She was last seen leaning against a bollard on the Stirling Highway, but when the taxi she had ordered arrived, she had vanished.

This week, the Supreme Court heard that less than an hour after Sarah disappeared, about 3am, a resident heard “blood curdling screams” from Mosman Park, 6km south of where she was last seen.

The resident looked out and saw the back of a car with distinctive curved brake lights, and a glaring registration plate, Ms Barbagallo told the WA Supreme Court this week.

The brake lights matched the shape of those of a 1992 model Toyota Camry, which she alleged Bradley Robert Edwards had access to at the time.

In May 1996, Mr Edwards’ estranged wife told him she was pregnant by another man, Ms Barbagallo told the Supreme Court this week.

“The time he’s under extreme stress, it’s notable it’s when these events occur,” she said.

As the weeks rolled by after her disappearance, Sarah’s face was plastered on thousands of billboards across Perth.

Her anguished shearing contractor father Don and mother Carol were resigned yet still hopeful when on June 6, 2006, Jane Louise Rimmer vanished from Claremont fashionable night strip.

It was just after midnight when the 23-year-old childcare worker declined a lift home with friends outside Club Bay View.

On that same evening, the court heard this week, two people living near Woolcoot Road, Wellard, heard a “loud, high-pitched female scream”.

The witnesses at the location, which is more than 40km south of Claremont, reported the scream “stopped abruptly and was followed by silence”.

A watch was found later that day, on the same road.

Perth went on high alert and detectives upgraded both Ms Spiers and Ms Rimmer’s missing person files to homicide.

A possible serial killer was mentioned in the media, “bogus taxi drivers” were fielded as potential suspects and fears were aired the “smart set” was his target.

In 1996, the grim wait by the missing girl’s parents lasted just 55 days.

On August 4 that year a woman bushwalking in thick scrub at Wellard, near the industrial area of Kwinana, found a naked, badly decomposed body.

Jane Rimmer was face down on the ground and nearby lay items of clothing, including a pair of shoes.

Police called to the scene immediately began a careful search of the surrounding area, in case the body of Sarah Spiers lay nearby. They began doorknocking at houses near the crime scene.

Two months after the terrible discovery, a Telstra knife was found in a Telstra box in the area, Carmel Barbagallo revealed in the Supreme Court this week.

The knife was standard issue for Telstra technician work, none of which had been done in that part of Wellard at the time, she said.

Two similar knives would be found in Mr Edwards’ toolbox at his house after his arrest in December, 2016.

Jane Rimmer’s remains were too decomposed for an exact cause of death, but forensic examiners noted a “prominent defect” to her neck.

They also found and analysed fibres from Ms Rimmer’s hair, which matched the seat insert and bolster of a 1996 VF series 1 Holden Commodore.

The Supreme Court heard this week that Bradley Edwards had been issued this model vehicle by Telstra at the time.

Police have since allegedly found Mr Edwards actual vehicle from the time and analysed fibres from it which matched the make and model of those in Ms Rimmer’s hair.

Over the summer of 1996 into 1997, Perth women were warned to stay safe and be wary of taxi drivers.

But like many confident young people, lawyer Ciara Glennon did not fear for her own safety.

She has just returned from a year overseas for her sister’s wedding, and perhaps the so-called Claremont serial killings did not loom so large.

Ciara went out drinking with workmates at Claremont’s Continental Hotel on the evening of Friday, March 14, 1997.

Just before midnight, she said goodnight and walked down Bay View Terrace to Stirling Highway.

A man sitting at a bus stop called out to her that she was “crazy” for hitchhiking, but Ciara waved him off and was last seen talking with the occupant of a late model Holden Commodore stopped at traffic lights.

In court this week, Ms Barbagallo said that on the night in question Bradley Edwards had been due at a friend’s home in Dawesville, 100km south of Perth.

She alleged he had not arrived until midmorning March 15, 1997 with the excuse he was trying to reconcile with his first wife. Ms Barbagallo described this in court as a “lie”.

On the same day, Ciara Glennon failed to show up for a hairdressing appointment, then missed her sister’s hens’ party.

Eighteen days later, on April 3, 1997, a 23-year-old man out walking on an isolated fishermen’s track north of Perth found a body in bushland.

The remains were just off Pipidinny Road, Eglinton, in a remote area about 55km from where Ms Glennon had stopped to talk to the Holden stopped at the lights.

Due to the shorter time of discovering Ms Glennon’s remains, forensic police were able to remove matter from beneath her fingernails and establish a cause of death.

The WA Supreme Court heard this week that Ms Glennon’s throat had been cut and that mixed DNA profile taken from beneath her fingernails allegedly matched her own and that belonging to Bradley Edwards.

The court heard allegations that Mr Edwards’ DNA also matched the intimate swabs taken from the Karrakatta Cemetery rape victim, and semen samples taken from the silk kimono dropped by the Huntingdale intruder in 1988.

Fibres from Ms Glennon’s hair also allegedly matched the those from the same model Holden Mr Edwards was driving for Telstra at the time of her murder.

Three of the four prints taken from a rear door in Huntingdale in the late 1980s allegedly matched Mr Edwards’ prints, taken after the 1990 Hollywood Hospital attack.

In April 1997 Mr Edwards met his second wife and sold the Fountain Way house he had bought with his first wife.

Thereafter, he would become involved in suburban athletics clubs in inner eastern Perth.

In July 2000, Bradley Edwards and his French-Australian wife bought their four-bedroom house at Kewdale.

They lived in the house with her daughter, born in 1994, who would still be living there after her mother and Mr Edwards split up.

Mr Edwards’ adult stepdaughter, now aged in her mid-20s, was living at the house at the time of his arrest, just days before Christmas 2016.

Inside the house, the court was told this week, Mr Edwards had allegedly accumulated a collection of pornography, sex objects and violent fantasy stories.

But, superficially at least, Bradley Edwards was a reliable Telstra worker who would be promoted from field technician to an office-based role managing technicians.

On weekends, he worked at little athletics clubs as a timekeeper and photographer.

He and his wife joined the nearby Kewdale Little Athletics Centre and in 2003 the Belmont Little Athletics Club, where Mr Edwards was appointed to the committee as a records officer.

By 2007, he was the Belmont club’s president.

In one of his president’s reports, he wrote, “In the first half of the season I was so busy on competition days I rarely had the opportunity to get out and meet the athletes and parents”.

Photographs of Mr Edwards at the Belmont club show a man comfortable in his surroundings, smiling and apparently at ease.

He gave off the same unassuming exterior to neighbours to whom as a computer hobbyist and gamer he offered his help free with their electronics connections.

In 2013, Mr Edwards received an award for ten years’ service at Kewdale Little Athletics Club from then WA Labor leader, Eric Ripper.

In December of that year, the City of Belmont council selected him with three others for their annual community spirit awards.

Mr Edwards was praised for his “tireless work” for the local community.

But his relationship with his second wife broke down, and meanwhile WA Police were cross-testing DNA samples from decades old rape and murder crimes.

When police knocked on the door of Mr Edwards slightly rundown Kewdale home in December 2016 and arrested him, they searched the house.

What they seized from inside, Ms Barbagallo alleged this week, included hardcore pornography and “violent and erotic stories”.

She said the material showed an “obsessive sexual interest in the abduction, imprisonment and forcible rape of women in degrading and violent circumstances and/or the performance of sexual acts on them while they are incapable of resisting, from which he derives sexual gratification”.

She claimed it showed this has “sexual interests were extreme, abnormal and depraved”.

Boxes found at the home allegedly contained homemade sex toys and women’s underwear with holes cut out for male genitalia, with DNA on those items matching Mr Edwards’.

Ms Barbagallo also alleged Mr Edwards would masturbate into a sandwich bag before tying it up with a women’s hair tie.

Stories either authored or kept by Mr Edwards, allegedly had “a number of strikingly similarities” with “what he does, how he does it” in offences for which he has been charged.

Of his alleged “entrenched and longstanding” fetish for women’s clothing, Ms Barbagallo said “this is a man who has evolved”.

Tens of thousands of pages of material will be considered in what is expected to be Bradley Edwards’ mammoth nine month trial, the longest in WA History. Among the evidence is a 60,000-page DNA report.

Mr Edwards’ barrister Paul Yovich conceded that in the prosecution case against his client at the trial, DNA evidence would be “central”. But he indicated he would challenge that.

“The question … is in each case, is it the accused’s DNA … and if so, how did it get there?” Mr Yovich said this week.

“With count eight (Ms Glennon’s murder) are there other possibilities … innocent contact, adventitious match or contamination in the collection or testing process?

“In relation to contamination in a lab for example … if the evidence were to suggest the Ciara Glennon DNA came because it came from the kimono, then the circumstances of the collection of the kimono are really irrelevant.”

“In [the murder] counts, identity is the primary if not the only issue,” he said.

Source: nzherald

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