Claremont 'serial killings': Australian man pleads not guilty

Ciara Glennon, Jane Rimmer and Sarah Spiers disappeared on separate nights in 1996 and 1997. Courtesy: BBC

An Australian man has pleaded not guilty to murdering three women, following one of the nation’s highest-profile criminal investigations.

Bradley Robert Edwards, 49, is accused of killing Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer, and Ciara Glennon on separate occasions in Perth in 1996 and 1997.

Their disappearances, all from the same suburb of Claremont, were later alleged by police to be serial killings.

Police charged Mr Edwards in 2016 after saying they had made a “breakthrough”.

On Wednesday, he was ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia after formally pleading not guilty to the murders.

He also pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting women in 1988 and 1995.

Two-decade mystery

Ms Rimmer, 23, disappeared from the upmarket suburb after a night out with friends on 9 June, 1996. Her body was discovered two months later in bushland about 45km (30 miles) south of Claremont.

Ms Glennon, 27, went missing on 14 March, 1997, also after a night out. She was found dead three weeks later near Eglington, about 50km away, in the city’s north.

The body of Ms Spiers, 18, has never been found. She was last seen outside a nightclub on 27 January, 1996, after celebrating Australia Day with friends.

The women’s disappearances prompted what has been described as Australia’s longest-running criminal investigation.

The case frustrated authorities for years, despite the investigations of a dedicated police taskforce and 10 independent reviews by crime experts.

A date for Mr Edwards’s trial is yet to be set.

He has the option of later applying for a jury-free trial due to the significant publicity surrounding the case, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.