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Australia Accused Claremont serial killer's car and uniform had fibres matching those found on bodies, court told

16:08  01 april  2020
16:08  01 april  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Lawyers for the accused Claremont serial killer have begun launching their attack into the credibility of the state’ s key forensic evidence as they begin the The trouser fibres allegedly also match those found on the shorts of Mr Edwards’ 1995 Karrakatta rape victim – a crime he recently confessed to.

Claremont serial killer victim Ciara Glennon had injuries consistent with her throat being cut and had accused man Bradley Robert Edwards' DNA on or under her fingernails, the Supreme Court was told today. Lead prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo started to spell out the "factual matrix" the state relies on in

Accused serial killer Bradley Edwards's old car was tracked down and seized by police. © ABC News Accused serial killer Bradley Edwards's old car was tracked down and seized by police. The Claremont serial killings trial has been shown the inside of a Telstra-issued car Bradley Edwards allegedly used to stalk two of his victims, before eventually murdering them and dumping their bodies in bush graves at opposite ends of Perth.

The Supreme Court trial has pushed ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic bringing a number of other West Australian criminal trials to a halt.

Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon all went missing from the Claremont area in Perth's western suburbs in 1996 and 1997.

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A social worker who was attacked from behind by the accused Claremont serial killer has told a court she thought she was going to die. * Prosecutors allege Edwards abducted or lured the victims into his work cars , and fibres from the interiors of those types of vehicles were found on the bodies

She asked him to stop so she could get out and collect two friends from a nearby park to join her for the remainder of the journey. In another lift in 1995, before the alleged murders, Mr Edwards is accused of picking up a woman on Stirling Highway in Claremont late on a Saturday night. "The male driver told

The prosecution alleges Edwards approached the women as they were walking home from nights out with friends, convincing them to get into his car.

Between April 1996 and December 1998, he drove a Telstra-branded white Holden Commodore VS Series wagon that had been issued to him in his role as a technician with the company.

It is alleged fibres found on the bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon matched fibres from a grey seat insert from that model of car, as well as fibres from the uniforms worn by Telstra workers at the time.

Other witnesses at the trial have given evidence they had been offered lifts home by a man driving a white car or van that matched the description of the work vehicles Edwards drove.

Some of them recalled seeing Telecom or Telstra insignia on the vehicles and some said they had originally mistaken the car for a taxi.

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In December 2016, on the same day Edwards was arrested at his Kewdale home, police seized the Commodore from a property in Chidlow.

It had been purchased by a member of the public years earlier and its Telstra logos had been removed.

Car taken apart in search for evidence

Over three days, at a forensic facility in Midland, the car was completely dismantled with seats and doors taken apart and examined.

Acting Senior Sergeant Steven Marks was one of the forensic officers who took part in that examination.

He told the court about 100 exhibits were collected from the vehicle, including plant matter, paint scrapings, four vacuum bags full of material collected from the interior and swabs that had been used to test for blood.

But there has been no evidence that any blood or other biological material from the victims was ever found inside the vehicle.

A total of 90 photos of the interior and exterior of the Commodore were taken by police and tendered as evidence at the trial.

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The next day, searchers found bodies in the basement of a vacant house and in the backyard of a home nearby. The discovery of the three women' s bodies in 2013 drew national attention to the possibility that another serial killer like Anthony Sowell had been killing women in and around

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In one photograph, a special light had been used to illuminate the area where the Telstra decal was once stuck on the driver-side door.

Defence questions reliability of fibre evidence

Edwards denies the three murder charges against him, but has admitted to attacks on two other women, including the abduction and rape of a teenage girl who was walking home alone from Claremont in 1995.

In his opening address back in November 2019, Edwards's lawyer Paul Yovich SC indicated he would challenge the reliability of the fibre evidence and he has since asked a number of police and forensic witnesses what car they drove throughout their involvement in the investigation, suggesting the fibres may have come from another source.

"How many fibres constitute a statistically significant number for the purpose of linking the accused with a given exhibit?" Mr Yovich asked.

"How many fibres all together were collected? How many of those fibres were chosen for examination?

"All we are saying is that the nice, neat picture the state wants to present, streamlining and selecting the evidence that best fits its theory, is not the full picture."

The trial will next hear from a representative from Holden who will appear via video link from China.

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