Ex-Telstra technician and confessed rapist Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, has pleaded not guilty to murdering three women in 1996 and 1997 – secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, childcare worker Ms Rimmer, 23, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27.
Ms Rimmer was last seen alive outside the Continental Hotel in Claremont on June 9, 1996 and her decomposing body was found in Wellard bushland 55 days later.
Former police officer Bleddyn Davies told the Western Australia Supreme Court on Monday that he saw a “white, waxy lump” when he arrived at the scene.
He said he stood no closer than 1.5 metres from the body and never touched the victim.
“I remember seeing some white lillies … you wouldn’t identify (it) necessarily as a human body,” he said.
Former policewoman Michelle Beaman testified she saw a naked body lying face down in scrub, saying she could see an upper thigh, shoulder and foot.
“The deceased person was in a decomposed state … maybe wildlife had interfered with the body,” she said.
Detective Sergeant James Crozier, who kept a running sheet of the crime scene, testified he had a “cursory look” from the road but never got closer than five metres to the body.
He denied he had to get into the bushes to see the body and said he did not get too close because he did not want to risk contaminating the site.
A video showing Ms Rimmer’s body in situ was played in court but the public gallery was prevented from viewing it after Justice Stephen Hall earlier on Monday ruled it was unnecessary to publicly show such distressing content.
But photographs were shown in court of Ms Rimmer’s home and fingerprint investigator Senior Constable Rhys Stott said there were no signs of a break-in.
The trial resumed on Monday following a two-week adjournment.
But evidence was delayed until the afternoon to give prosecutors time to purchase and erect a shield to block the public gallery from seeing the graphic photographs and videos.
It came after the families of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon expressed concern about such images being publicly shown, with Ms Glennon’s father even writing a letter to the court.
Justice Hall, who is presiding over the trial without a jury, said he had no intention of releasing any images to the media and did not think it was necessary for anyone other than counsel and himself to see the material. “It’s distressing, I would have thought, to anyone and no doubt would be deeply distressing to the families,” he said.
Edwards is permitted to see the images, but defence counsel Paul Yovich previously indicated at a pre-trial hearing that Edwards had not wanted to see some of the sensitive material.