Bradley Edwards allegedly murdered (from top) Ciara Glennon, Jane Rimmer and Sarah Spiers. (ABC News)
A Telstra station wagon circled a Cottesloe hotel twice before driving past a group of young women three times as they left the pub in December 1996 — at the height of the Claremont serial killings — a woman has told a Perth murder trial.
- The court heard the Telstra car approached the women near the Ocean Beach Hotel
- The woman says she told its driver she did not want a lift but he drove past twice more
- Telstra worker Bradley Edwards is accused of abducting three women in the area
Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, a former Telstra technician, is on trial in the WA Supreme Court accused of the wilful murders of Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23 and Ciara Glennon, 27, who all vanished from the streets of Claremont between 1996 and 1997.
Both Ms Spiers and Ms Rimmer had been drinking at the Ocean Beach Hotel (OBH) in Cottesloe on the nights of their disappearances.
Natalie Clements, now 47, told the court she and five friends had been enjoying a night out in Cottesloe on the Friday before Christmas in 1996, first at a restaurant and then at the OBH.
A Telstra car approached the group of women after they left the OBH, the court heard. (ABC News: Rebecca Trigger)
The group was sitting in the front bar of the pub and she noticed a Holden Commodore with a Telstra logo on the driver’s door circle the hotel twice as she looked out the window.
Later, when she and her friends had left the hotel, they were unable to get a taxi home, so they began walking towards the Grant Street train station.
As they walked along Eric Street, the same Telstra vehicle approached them from behind and, thinking it was taxi, Ms Clements stepped off the kerb onto the road to hail it.
Under questioning from state prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo SC, Ms Clements said the car slowed down and stopped, and she spoke to the male driver, who was in shadow and could not be clearly seen.
She told him she did not want a lift and the car drove off, but then it circled back and drove past them twice more as they continued walking along Eric Street.
The alleged incident occurred after Ms Spiers and Ms Rimmer disappeared from Claremont earlier in 1996 and just four months after Ms Rimmer’s body was found, but three months before Ms Glennon went missing and was later found dead.
Police not given full story at time, court told
Under cross-examination from defence counsel Paul Yovich SC, Ms Clements admitted that in her original police statement June 1997 she had not mentioned speaking to the driver or that the car had stopped.
But she maintained her later statement to police, made in September this year when she mentioned speaking to the driver, was accurate.
Ms Clements is believed to be part of the Telstra Living Witness project, the name given to a group of incidents involving Telstra-branded vehicles in 1996 and 1997.
The project details witness accounts of a suspicious man driving a Telstra vehicle late at night in the Cottesloe and Claremont areas offering young women lifts.
Ms Clements’s evidence suggested police were aware of a possible connection between the Claremont killings and a Telstra vehicle from at least June 1997.
Edwards had sleep problems and was drinking heavily
Earlier, the court heard from sleep specialist John Philpott, who said he had treated Edwards at a sleep clinic at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in early 1997.
Edwards, who was 28 at the time, had told Dr Philpott he had been separated from his wife for about 11 months and had been drinking about a bottle of spirits a week.
Bradley Edwards was treated at a sleep clinic in early 1997, the court was told. (Supplied: Supreme Court of WA)
He had spent the night in a sleep lab at the hospital and Dr Philpott reviewed him on two subsequent occasions.
Edwards denies murdering the three women and the trial, before Justice Stephen Hall, is continuing.