Claremont killings ‘not guilty’ plea
THE man police allege is the Claremont serial killer - accused of killing Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon - is set to face trial after pleading not guilty to three counts of wilful murder.
This morning Bradley Robert Edwards, now 49, appeared again by video beamed into Stirling Gardens Magistrate's Court, before magistrate Jan Whitbread.
As in previous hearings, the court was packed with interested onlookers, as Mr Edwards' case was the first called among dozens of others on the designated Supreme Court homicide list.
Ms Spiers' father Don and Ms Glennon's father Denis arrived early to witness Mr Edwards' fifth court appearance and sat side-by-side in the public gallery during the brief hearing.
Nine charges were read to the accused one by one.
Mr Edwards pleaded not guilty to three counts of wilful murder, two counts of aggravated sexual penetration without consent, two counts of deprivation of liberty, indecent assault and break and enter.
The 49-year-old is also facing charges over two separate sex attacks on teenagers in 1988 and 1995.
Prosecutors asked Ms Whitbread to set aside provisional trial dates - from May 1, 2019 to the end of next year.
Ms Whitbread refused to set aside the dates, saying prosecutors had not yet gone through the proper process to do so.
"This matter is no different to any other," she said.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo had previously told the court prosecutors were currently reviewing and categorising more than 1.5 million pages of material.
And during parliamentary estimates questions in May, it was confirmed that an entire floor of the office of the DPP building had been assigned to the prosecution team working on the case - a prosecution which has been already budgeted to cost more than $3 million.
A line in this year's state Budget the prosecution "has the potential to be one of the longest and most complex criminal cases ever conducted in Western Australia".
It is already the longest running and most expensive murder investigation in Australian history.
Police will allege Mr Edwards abducted Ms Spiers, whose body has never been found, as she waited for a taxi in Claremont on January 27, 1996.
Officers have not revealed what gave them the confidence to lay charges over the 18-year-old secretary's death.
Mr Edwards is also charged with murdering 23-year-old childcare worker Jane Rimmer in June 1996 and 27-year-old lawyer Ciara Glennon in March 1997 after abducting them from Claremont.
Ms Rimmer's body was found in Wellard in August 1996 and Ms Glennon's body was found in Eglinton in April 1997.
Mr Edwards is allegedly the man behind the abduction and degrading rape of a 17-year-old girl who was walking through Rowe Park in Claremont in February 1995.
Police believe he also indecently assaulted an 18-year-old during a break-in at a Huntingdale home in February 1988.
The former Telstra worker was arrested at his Kewdale home in an early morning raid in December 2016.
Mr Edwards will appear in the Supreme Court on September 17.