Australia’s Claremont killer sentenced to 40 years in prison for two murders

Jane Rimmer, Ciara Glennon and Sarah Spiers disappeared from a popular nightlife area in Perth, Western Australia, in the 1990s. For almost 25 years, their unresolved deaths continued to linger in the minds of residents.

In September of this year, after a seven-month trial by just a judge, Bradley Robert Edwards, 52, was found guilty of the murder of child worker Rimmer, 23, in 1996, and lawyer Glennon, 27, in 1997.

He was found not guilty for the murder of Spiers, 18, a secretary whose body was never found, as there was insufficient evidence.

On Wednesday, Edwards was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison before being eligible to apply for parole, the Western Australian Supreme Court confirmed to CNN.

In pronouncing the sentence, Western Australia’s Supreme Court judge Stephen Hall told Edwards that he was a “dangerous predator looking for vulnerable young women”.

“His actions were pre-meditated, carried out with merciless determination and were relentless in his contempt for the pain and suffering he caused,” Hall said in his comments on the sentence.

Hall said there was a “high probability” that Edwards would die in prison.

What happened

The disappearance of women has generated widespread fear among Perth residents.

The three were last seen in the early hours of the morning, after spending a night out in the affluent suburb of Claremont, an area previously considered safe.

“The fact that three young men disappeared from the streets of Claremont created what was described as an enigma of darkness,” Hall said at his trial in September, when Edwards was found guilty. “This means that there was a mystery as to who took the three victims.”

DNA evidence helps convict man for killing two women in one of Australia's most notorious archived cases

A few weeks after his disappearance, the bodies of Rimmer and Glennon were found in the bush. Both were killed by sharp force wounds to the neck, Hall said in his September trial.

Spiers was last seen in the early hours of January 27, 1996. Her body was never found, but there is nothing to indicate that she is still alive, Hall said.

“She must have been kidnapped or killed, but the circumstances in which she was taken and how she died are unknown,” he added.

For decades, the disappearances have not been resolved. Then, in 2016, the police made progress.

That year, Edwards was arrested for two rapes and emerged as a suspect in the Claremont murders due to his DNA.

The police compared his DNA to samples taken from Glennon’s left hand nails. The prosecution argued that the DNA probably came under his nails during a violent fight before his death.

They also said that the fibers found in the bodies of Rimmer and Glennon corresponded to those taken from Edwards’ company car, indicating that he had kidnapped the two women in that vehicle.

CNN’s Samantha Beech and Angus Watson contributed reporting.