Claremont killings: Australian man guilty of two 1990s murders

(L-R) Ciara Glennon, Jane Rimmer and Sarah Spiers

image copyrightCrimeStoppers

image caption(L-R) Ciara Glennon, Jane Rimmer and Sarah Spiers disappeared on separate nights in 1996 and 1997

An Australian man has been found guilty of murdering two women in separate abductions in the 1990s, but not guilty over the killing of a third woman.

The case has been one of Australia’s highest-profile mysteries for more than two decades, and came to be known as the Claremont serial killings.

Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, denied killing Jane Rimmer, 23, Ciara Glennon, 27, and Sarah Spiers, 18, in Perth.

On Thurdsday, a judge convicted him of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon’s deaths.

But Justice Stephen Hall said there was not enough evidence to convict of murdering Ms Spiers.

The women disappeared on separate nights in 1996 and 1997 in the affluent Perth suburb of Claremont.

“Every Western Australian is thinking of the families of Sarah, Jane and Ciara today,” state Premier Mark McGowan said after the verdict.

“What happened to these young women changed our state.”

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe long-running trial has been followed closely in Australia

Edwards was charged with two of the murders in 2016, in what police called a “breakthrough” in their long-running investigation. He was charged two years later with killing Ms Spiers.

Unlike in the cases of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer, Ms Spiers’ body has never been found.

“The propensity evidence makes it more likely that the accused was the killer of Sarah Spiers, but it cannot proved beyond reasonable doubt in the absence of any other evidence as to the identity of her killer,” Justice Hall told the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Prior the murder trial, Edwards had pleaded guilty to rape and assault of two other women.

His judge-only trial ran for seven months and involved over 200 witnesses. It was Western Australia’s longest-running and most expensive murder trial.

After the verdict, Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson praised “the strength and resilience” of the victims’ relatives, many of whom were in the courtroom on Thursday.

“Bradley Edwards can now be called for what he is: a brutal rapist and a murderer,” he said.

Edwards will be sentenced on 23 December.

BBC News