Carrie Bickmore walked home in fear of Claremont serial killer after nights out in Perth

Carrie Bickmore reveals how she used to walk home trembling in fear after nights out in Perth as a teenager when the Claremont serial killer was still on the loose: ‘I was terrified’

  • The Project host relived terror she felt as a teenager going out at night in Perth 
  • In 1996-1997 three women disappeared after being at nightspots in Claremont 
  • It took more than 20 years for the murderer to finally be brought to justice 

Carrie Bickmore has revealed she was ‘terrified’ as a teenager in Perth a quarter century ago when a serial killer of young women was on the loose.  

Three women In 1996-1997 vanished after being at nightspots in Claremont, a wealthy suburb of the Western Australia capital.

Sarah Spiers, 18, went missing on January 27, 1996, Jane Rimmer, 23, disappeared on June 9 that year, and Ciara Glennon, 27, vanished on March 15, 1997.

It took more than two decades for the murderer, Bradley Robert Edwards, to be arrested and eventually brought to justice. 

On Wednesday night’s episode of The Project, Bickmore revealed she and other young women were in fear for their lives at the time. 

‘(I was) terrified. As a young person who went out in that area, that’s where we would go night clubbing,’ she said. 

‘And you’d be out walking around with your girlfriends late at night, catching cabs and we didn’t know who it was and what it was. 

‘There was a lot of fear in the community.’

Bickmore asked former homicide detective Paul Ferguson, who was in charge of the Claremont killings investigation from 1996-1998, if he remembered the fear wreaking havoc on the city.

‘Certainly,’ he said. ‘We generated some of that because when Jane (Rimmer) went missing, we were concerned for the young ladies and tried to get the message out there.’

Mr Ferguson said the police had ‘to just reinforce to young people to be careful.

‘Do not hitchhike. Keep your friends informed as to what you’re doing. I make no bones about it. It was a terrifying time for the inquiry team.’

The detective was asked whether he ‘felt the pressure’ to solve the case, given the murders garnered so much media attention.

‘Well, if you look at any homicide there’s a lot of pressure. There’s so many people relying upon you to get to the bottom of what happened to their loved one,’ he said.

He then went back to the beginning of the shocking murder spree.

‘When Sarah (Spiers) went missing, the Spiers family did what normal people do, is they come in and report to say they’ve haven’t come home. 

Sarah Spiers' (pictured above) remains have never been found

Ciara Glennon's semi-clothed body was found 19 days after she went missing

Sarah Spiers’ (above, left) remains have never been found, while Ciara Glennon’s (right) semi-clothed body was found 19 days after she went missing

‘There was a missing person report taken and to the credit of Sarah’s family, they started a campaign with posters, putting up… bits and pieces which obviously escalated the concern. 

‘And the missing persons bureau brought it up to the homicide squad and said you better have a look at this,’ he said.

Bickmore recalled how she felt when she and her friends realised there was a serial killer and asked Mr Ferguson when he realised this was the case?

Jane Rimmer's (pictured) naked body was found 55 days after she disappeared from Claremont

Jane Rimmer’s (pictured) naked body was found 55 days after she disappeared from Claremont

‘On June 9, 1996. I remember it very well,’ he said. ‘It was my wife’s birthday, but that’s when Jane Rimmer was abducted and subsequently murdered.  

‘When you get a second (victim) from the same proximity, similar circumstances, you then realise that you’ve got a major problem on your hands.’

Sarah Spiers’ body has never been found. Jane Rimmer’s naked body was found 55 days after she disappeared, 40km from where she was last seen alive. Ciara Glennon’s semi-clothed body was found on a bush track 19 days after she went missing. 

Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured) was convicted of two of the Claremont murders and the judge said it was 'more likely' than not that he was responsible for a third as well

Bradley Robert Edwards (pictured) was convicted of two of the Claremont murders and the judge said it was ‘more likely’ than not that he was responsible for a third as well

It took until 2016 for a suspect, Bradley Robert Edwards, to be arrested. 

On September 24, 2020 he was found guilty of the murders of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, and not guilty of the murder of Ms Spiers.

In his 619-page verdict, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said, however, it was ‘more likely’ than not that Edwards was involved in Ms Spiers’ disappearance. 

Asked what it felt like when Edwards was finally convicted, Mr Ferguson said ‘The outcome for me – and I’m sure I’m talking on behalf of, I don’t know, 200, 300, 400 police officers that worked on the file over the 23 years, was a sense of satisfaction, but disappointment for the Spiers family.’

KEY DATES IN MARATHON CASE OF THE ALLEGED CLAREMONT KILLER 

 February 15, 1988

– An 18-year-old woman is indecently assaulted in her sleep during a break-in at a Huntingdale home but her attacker flees after a struggle.

February 12, 1995

– A 17-year-old girl is abducted while walking through Rowe Park in Claremont and taken to Karrakatta Cemetery where she is sexually assaulted.

January 27, 1996

– Secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, disappears after leaving Club Bayview in Claremont after calling a taxi from a nearby phone booth. Her body has not been found.

June 9, 1996

– Childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, similarly vanishes in Claremont and is last seen outside the Continental Hotel.

June 10, 1996

– Western Australia Police sets up Macro task force.

August 3, 1996

– Ms Rimmer’s body is found by a mother and her children picking flowers in Wellard, south of Perth.

March 15, 1997

– Lawyer Ciara Glennon, 27, is last seen in Claremont after also visiting the Continental Hotel.

April 3, 1997

– Ms Glennon’s body is found in bushland at Eglington, north of Perth.

October 16, 2015

– A newspaper claims police have established a forensic link between Ms Glennon’s murderer and the man who raped a teenager in Karrakatta two years earlier but police refuse to comment for ‘operational reasons’.

December 23, 2016

– Bradley Robert Edwards, 48, from Kewdale, is charged with eight offences related to the deaths of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer and the Karrakatta and Huntington attacks, but no charges are laid over the disappearance of Ms Spiers. Edwards is remanded in custody.

February 22, 2018

– Edwards is charged with the wilful murder of Ms Spiers.

October 21, 2019 

– Edward pleads guilty to five of eight charges against him, including the Huntingdale attack and raping the 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta, but maintains he didn’t commit the murders. 

November 25, 2019

– A judge-alone trial begins in the Western Australia Supreme Court.

May 6, 2020 

– The trial is adjourned after all evidence has been heard.

September 24, 2020

– Bradley Robert Edwards is found guilty of the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, but is cleared of killing Sarah Spiers

December 23, 2020

– Edwards will return to the WA Supreme Court for sentencing

Source: AAP

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