In an abrupt and unexpected ending to his triple murder trial, the man accused of the Claremont serial killings has elected not to offer a detailed defence to the charges against him.
- Bradley Edwards declined an offer to testify in his defence
- The trial will now resume in June to hear closing submissions
- Earlier a police video interview showed his reaction to DNA evidence
Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, is charged with the 1996 and 1997 murders of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, who all vanished late at night from the Claremont entertainment precinct in Perth’s western suburbs.
The bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were found weeks after they disappeared, in bushland south and north of Perth, but Ms Spiers’s remains have never been discovered.
Edwards’s legal team was expected to begin outlining its case in the WA Supreme Court today, but instead they suddenly wrapped up the case.
The Claremont serial killings
A timeline of the key events and the subsequent investigation by police a murder inquiry spanning two decades and hundreds of potential suspects.
It came after the prosecution finished its submissions, which comprised more than five months of evidence from more than 200 witnesses.
In contrast, the defence lawyers elected not to present any witnesses and Edwards also chose not to testify in his own defence.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich SC said the only evidence he wished to cite was weather records for the City of Gosnells for 1996.
The weather records relate to evidence given on the fifth day of the trial by Brigita Cook, the wife of Edwards’ friend and colleague Murray Cook, who told the court Edwards had arrived at their house around 7:30am on Sunday January 27.
Ms Spiers was last seen in Claremont around 2:00 am on the same day, and Ms Cook testified Edwards had come to their house so he and her husband could travel to work at Dumas House in West Perth, where they were due to work on the telephone system.
It was a hot day, she said, and Edwards had offered to help fix a faulty air conditioner at their house before they left for work.
Mr Yovich did not call any fibre or DNA witnesses, as had been expected.
‘Brace yourself Bradley’: Edwards stunned by DNA evidence
The final piece of evidence submitted by the prosecution was a video recording of Edwards’s interview with police in the hours after his dramatic arrest at his Perth home in December 2016, which was played to the trial over the past two days.
In the last part of the recording played this morning, Edwards appears stunned when confronted with DNA evidence linking him to the Claremont crimes, along with brutal assaults on two Perth teenagers, his interview with police showed.
Bradley Edwards was interviewed by police hours after his arrest in December 2016.(ABC News)
After several hours of questioning, Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Marrapodi is shown in the video presenting Edwards with the results of DNA comparisons conducted after he gave police hair and saliva samples.
“Brace yourself Bradley, I have some results,” he is seen telling Edwards, before he informs him the DNA samples returned a “positive match”.
“How could that be?” Edwards says. “I didn’t do it.”
Senior Sergeant Marrapodi then tells him his DNA was found on the 17-year-old victim of a violent abduction and rape at Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995.
“I’m struggling to explain that,” Edwards says.
“I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I didn’t do any of this.”
Edwards admitted the rape as well as the indecent assault of an 18-year-old in her bed at Huntingdale late last year, just before the start of his murder trial.
Guilty plea rocks Claremont trial
Bradley Edwards has pleaded guilty to raping a teen girl in a cemetery and attacking an 18-year-old woman in her home.
In the video, Edwards is then shown a photograph of Ms Glennon but denies knowing her, and Senior Sergeant Marrapodi tells him the DNA sample from the rape also matched DNA found on Ms Glennon.
Again, Edwards says he has no explanation, even after Senior Sergeant Marrapodi brings his stepdaughter into the conversation.
“Your daughter said your most prized virtue is your honesty, this is your chance to show that she’s right,” he says.
“I’m being honest,” Edwards replies.
“Are you a man who accepts responsibility for his actions?” the detective asks.
“Yes I am,” Edwards says.
“I accept responsibility for stuff I’ve done, not stuff I haven’t done.”
Bradley Edwards denied raping a girl at Karrakatta Cemetery in the interview, before later admitting the crime.(Facebook: KLAC)
Edwards was also shown a photo of a silk kimono left behind at the Huntingdale attack and found to contain his DNA.
“How can it be?” he asks Detective Senior Sergeant Marrapodi.
“She was attacked in her bedroom Bradley,” the detective replies.
“I don’t know what it is or where it’s from,” Edwards says, referring to the garment.
The white kimono was found at the scene of a February 14, 1988 assault in Huntingdale Edwards has admitted to committing.(Supplied: Supreme Court of WA)
The courtroom was again packed for today’s proceedings, with the families of Ms Glennon, Ms Rimmer and Ms Spiers in attendance, as well as the two women Edwards assaulted and his parents.
A number of people were again turned away because of limited seating in the public gallery due to coronavirus social distancing measures.
With both the prosecution and defence concluding their cases in the long-running trial, closing submissions are now expected to begin on June 8.
A timeline of the Claremont serial killings
Claremont serial killings more on this story