DNA ‘turning point’ in Claremont murders


Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, is on trial in the WA Supreme Court accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1996 and 1997.

The former Telstra technician admits raping a 17-year-old girl he abducted and dragged through Karrakatta cemetery in 1995 and attacking a sleeping 18-year-old woman as she slept in her Huntingdale home in 1988.

Former Macro Taskforce investigating officer detective sergeant Jim Stanbury testified on Monday about the DNA breakthrough at a UK lab in 2008 that linked Ms Glennon’s murder to the 1995 rape.

Sarah Spiers and Jane Rimmer, who fell victim to the Claremont serial killer from January 1996 to March 1997. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Det Sgt Stanbury and former PathWest scientist Laurie Webb had delivered some exhibits to the UK lab for low copy number DNA testing, including Ms Glennon’s fingernails.

“We saw that there had been no testing of that item (her left thumbnail) previously and considered it to be a good item for specialist forensic DNA testing,” the detective said.

He said testing on a combined sample of Ms Glennon’s left middle fingernail, known as AJM42, and her left thumbnail, known as AJM40, revealed a profile “consistent with DNA coming from two people – male and female”.

The male profile was run through the UK’s DNA database but returned no match.

It was later run through WA’s database, which matched the unsolved cemetery rape case.

Det Sgt Stanbury said it was “definitely a turning point” for the investigation.

“Now we have this match to the sex assault, we have a living witness, we had a description of the person responsible, we had a vehicle that was possibly involved, we had a method or style of assault or attack to look for, and we had the highly discriminating DNA profile,” he said.

Regarding the suspects police had, he said they no longer had to rely on alibis.

“If their DNA didn’t match, they were eliminated from the investigation,” he said.

The trial continues.



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