- Mar 5, 2017
- AFL Club
- West Coast
Front page and pages 6-7 from the West Australian Newspaper 10 August, 2019.
How police used DNA from discarded drink bottle to make arrest
CLAREMONT SERIAL KILLER TRIAL FULL REPORTS PAGES 4-5
- The West Australian
- 23 Oct 2019
- TIM CLARKE
Denis Glennon, Ciara Glennon’s father, at court yesterday. Below: The Sprite bottle and pants similar to the Telstra workers’ trousers.
The role that a discarded Sprite bottle played in the incredible arrest of accused Claremont serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards has been revealed for the first time.
In late 2016, the soft drink bottle — replete with Mr Edwards’ DNA — became one of the last pieces of the massive jigsaw of clues which led to the arrest West Australians thought may never happen.
And three years on, as Mr Edwards prepares to go on trial for the murders of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, the undercover officers who recovered it are also preparing to reveal their part in the operation to catch a potential killer.
During pretrial hearings this week, it emerged that in late 2016, WA
Police surveillance operatives were set to work after the incredible chain of events that led to Mr Edwards’ becoming their No.1 target. The starting point was a discarded kimono which had sat in an evidence box in police custody for more than 30 years, having been collected at a Huntingdale crime scene in 1988.
That scene was a bedroom where an 18-year-old girl had been attacked by a lone intruder, who was wearing a women’s nightie.
And that kimono, when it was re-examined by cold case detectives three decades later, was found to be stained with traceable DNA samples. Those samples matched those taken in two major open cases — an horrific rape in Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, and the murder of Ciara Glennon two years later. And the Huntingdale assault also connected to a string of bizarre break-ins in the same suburb over 1988, where bras, tights, underwear and nightclothes were stolen from drawers and washing lines all over the neighbour
hood. During one of those break-ins, three partial latent fingerprints and one latent palm impression were left behind on a rear sliding door.
And with there now being a new link between Huntingdale and the Claremont case, the fingerprints were run through the national database. Up popped the name Bradley Robert Edwards.
His conviction in 1990 for an unprovoked attack on a worker at Hollywood Hospital had put his details into the system. And that key breakthrough prompted police to begin their covert surveillance.
As they kept tabs on the long-time Telstra worker, the thrown-away bottle was scooped up and tested. And after Edwards was then arrested, a swab from inside his mouth gave them a much better sample.
When that swab matched to the DNA on the kimono, taken from the Karrakatta rape victim and found under Ms Glennon’s fingernails, police believed they finally had their man.
If those undercover officers are required to give evidence in WA’s Supreme Court in the coming months, it may be done from behind a screen — or even in a closed court — to protect their identity.
But Mr Edwards’ barrister Paul Yovich said they may not be needed at all, as he said the defence had “no issue with the legality of the arrest of the accused”.
What is set to become one of the central issues of the trial are two tiny polyester fibres found on shorts the victim of the horrific rape in Karrakatta Cemetery was wearing on the night she was abducted, bound, assaulted and dumped.
Prosecutors say those blue polyester-4 fibres are common to others found on Ciara Glennon, Jane Rimmer and in the Holden Commodore work car which Mr Edwards was driving at the time.
And the court will also be told those fibres were common to the Telstra-issued blue work trousers worn by Edwards in the late 80s and early 90s.
Those trousers were made and dyed specifically for Telstra at the time. And the discovery of an existing pair this year, opened up interstate inquiries with textile and workwear companies in Victoria — resulting in a delay in the trial starting.
Letters to the POST
Exonerate and compensate The state government will win significant windfall savings with the three months of reduction to the trial of the Claremont killer suspect. It would be most appropriate to pay such a sum of money as compensation to former Claremont mayor Peter Weygers and the family of deceased civil servant Lance Williams for them each having been identified as prime suspects. Alf Campbell Kenwick Road, Kenwick
I estimate 12-13 years old - 1st year High School.....Gosnells SHS in 1981
Yes very interesting.Interesting that in the young school pic is wearing glasses, also in the latter school pic. Wears glasses now.
As far as I am aware, no witness (Huntingdale, Telstra Living) has reported glasses....When did contacts becomes a thing in Australia???