Carrie Bickmore has revealed she was ‘terrified’ as a teenager in Perth a quarter of a century ago when a serial killer of young women was on the loose.
In 1996-97, three women went missing after going to nightclubs in Claremont, a wealthy suburb of Western Australia’s capital.
Sarah Spiers, 18, disappeared on January 27, 1996, Jane Rimmer, 23, disappeared on June 9 of the same year, and Ciara Glennon, 27, disappeared on March 15, 1997.
It took more than two decades for the murderer, Bradley Robert Edwards, to be arrested and finally brought to justice.
On Wednesday night’s episode of The Project, Bickmore revealed that she and other young women feared for their lives at the time.
‘(I was terrified. As a youngster going out in this neighborhood, that’s where we would go clubbing,’ she said.
“And you were walking around with your girlfriends late at night, catching taxis and we didn’t know who it was and what it was.
“There was a lot of fear in the community.”
Bickmore asked former detective Paul Ferguson, who was in charge of the investigation of the Claremont murders from 1996 to 1998, if he remembered the fear that ravaged the city.
“Certainly,” he said. “We generated some of it because when Jane (Rimmer) went missing, we worried about the young girls and tried to get the message across.”
Mr Ferguson said the police had “just to urge young people to be careful.
‘Don’t hitchhike. Keep your friends informed of what you’re up to. I don’t hide it. It was a terrifying time for the investigation team.
The detective was asked if he “felt the pressure” to solve the case, given that the murders had attracted so much media attention.
“Well, if you look at any homicide, there’s a lot of pressure. There are so many people who are counting on you to find out what happened to their loved one,” he said.
He then returned to the start of the shocking killing spree.
“When Sarah (Spiers) went missing, the Spiers family did what normal people do, which is to walk in and report they haven’t come home.
The remains of Sarah Spiers (above, left) have never been found, while the half-clothed body of Ciara Glennon (right) was found 19 days after she went missing.
“There was a missing person report and to the credit of Sarah’s family they started a campaign with posters, putting up…pieces which obviously heightened the concern.
“And the Missing Persons Bureau told the Homicide Squad about it and said you better look into it,” he said.
Bickmore recalled how she felt when she and her friends realized there was a serial killer and asked Mr. Ferguson when he realized there was?
The naked body of Jane Rimmer (pictured) was found 55 days after she disappeared from Claremont
“June 9, 1996. I remember it very well,” he said. “It was my wife’s birthday, but that’s when Jane Rimmer was kidnapped and then murdered.
“When you get a second (victim) of the same proximity, under similar circumstances, then you realize you have a major problem on your hands.”
Sarah Spiers’ body was never found. Jane Rimmer’s naked body was found 55 days after her disappearance, 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 found guilty of two of the Claremont murders and the judge said it was ‘more likely’ than not he was also responsible for a third
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, however, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said 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 speak for, I don’t know, 200, 300, 400 police officers who worked on the case over the course of 23 years, was a sense of satisfaction, but disappointment for the Spires family.
KEY DATES IN MARATHON CASE OF ALLEGED CLAREMONT KILLER
February 15, 1988
– An 18-year-old woman is indecently assaulted in her sleep during a burglary at a Huntingdale home but her attacker flees after a fight.
February 12, 1995
– A 17-year-old girl is abducted while walking in 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. His body has not been found.
June 9, 1996
–Educator Jane Rimmer, 23, also goes missing in Claremont and is last seen outside the Continental Hotel.
June 10, 1996
– Western Australia Police are setting up a 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, was last seen in Claremont after also visiting the Continental Hotel.
April 3, 1997
– Ms Glennon’s body is found in the bush in Eglington, north of Perth.
October 16, 2015
– A newspaper claims police have established a forensic link between Ms Glennon’s killer and the man who raped a teenager in Karrakatta two years earlier, but police are refusing to comment for “operational reasons”.
December 23, 2016
– Bradley Robert Edwards, 48, of Kewdale, is charged with eight offenses relating to the deaths of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer and the Karrakatta and Huntington attacks, but no charges are brought in relation to the disappearance of Ms Spiers . Edwards is taken into custody.
February 22, 2018
– Edwards is charged with the willful murder of Mrs. Spiers.
October 21, 2019
– Edward pleads guilty to five of the eight charges against him, including the Huntingdale attack and the rape of the 17-year-old girl in Karrakatta, but maintains that he did not commit the murders.
November 25, 2019
– A judge-only trial begins in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
May 6, 2020
– The trial is adjourned after all the 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 the murder of Sarah Spiers
December 23, 2020
– Edwards will return to WA Supreme Court for sentencing