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Serial killer trial: Final movements of murdered Irish woman traced in court

Ciara Glennon (27) one of three victims killed on nights out with their friends

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Denis Glennon arrives at court yesterday. Photo: Getty

Denis Glennon arrives at court yesterday. Photo: Getty

Police search the home in Perth of murder accused Bradley Robert Edwards in 2016

Police search the home in Perth of murder accused Bradley Robert Edwards in 2016

Ciara Glennon

Ciara Glennon

Bradley Robert Edwards

Bradley Robert Edwards

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Denis Glennon arrives at court yesterday. Photo: Getty

Denis Glennon has waited more than 22 years to face the man accused of his daughter's murder in Australia.

Ciara (27) disappeared on March 14, 1997, following a night out celebrating St Patrick's Day in Claremont, Perth.

Her body was found three weeks later in bush land, 50km north of Australia's third-­largest city.

It is the prosecution's case that Ciara, along with Sarah Spiers (18) and Jane Rimmer (23), was abducted and murdered by Bradley Robert Edwards (50) - the 'Claremont Serial Killer' - between 1996 and 1997.

On the first day of what is expected to be a six-month trial, the court was told Ciara, Sarah and Jane all disappeared "under the cover of darkness". The three went missing after nights out with friends.

Mr Edwards eluded police until Christmas 2016, prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo SC told the court.

Members of each woman's family - including Denis Glennon - were in the public gallery yesterday, a few metres from Mr Edwards.

Dancer

Denis and Una Glennon, originally from Westport, Co Mayo, and Co Monaghan, settled in Western Australia when Ciara was just five.

A keen ballet dancer, Ciara was a diligent student who graduated from university with degrees in law and Japanese and had started an internship at a law firm.

She had an adventurous spirit and had just returned from a year of travelling overseas.

Ciara was supposed to be her sister's bridesmaid later that month and was out celebrating St Patrick's Day on the night she disappeared.

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Footage was shown to the court yesterday showing her and her friends arriving at the Continental Hotel. There is no CCTV footage of her leaving the venue - but the prosecution outlined how there are 12 instances where witnesses said they spotted a female matching her description walking along Bayview Terrace and Stirling Highway that night.

"When she reached a point on Stirling Highway, a white VS Holden Commodore station wagon was seen in close proximity to her," Ms Barbagallo said.

"It is on this stretch of highway that Ciara Glennon either accepted a lift from the perpetrator, or was abducted by the perpetrator in a blitz attack."

Three men who had been out drinking said that while they were sitting at a bus stop, they saw a lone woman matching Ciara's description.

"One of the men yelled out 'you're crazy to hitchhike' then Ciara gestured back to him," Ms Barbagallo said.

The man said he saw a white VS Commodore drive past a short time later. He then saw a woman leaning towards the vehicle.

Ciara's body was found 18 days later.

Sarah Spiers (18) was the first of the three women to disappear. Originally from rural Western Australia, she was sharing a flat in South Perth with her older sister, Amanda.

On the night of Australia Day 1996, Amanda dropped Sarah and her friends at Club Bayview in Claremont.

The court heard an audio recording of Sarah ordering a taxi later that night, telling the operator she wanted to go to Mosman Park, some 4km away. She sounded polite and chirpy as she ordered the taxi she never got into.

Two men driving past the spot where Ms Spiers may have been standing observed another vehicle, which was not a taxi, approaching her from behind.

Hours after Ms Spiers' disappearance, four separate witnesses heard a woman's high-pitched screams in Mosman Park.

Ms Spiers's body has never been found.

Jane Rimmer's naked body was discovered by "absolute chance" 55 days later in Wellard, in an advanced state of decomposition.

Ms Rimmer was last seen on security camera footage outside the Continental Hotel in the early hours of June 9, 1996.

Screaming

A couple said they were awakened by the sound of a female yelling, then a car driving off, while another couple also heard screaming that stopped suddenly, the prosecutor said.

Mr Edwards has pleaded not guilty to murdering the three women.

Ms Barbagallo said Mr Edwards dumped his victims in bushland, covered in foliage in the hope they "would never be found".

But she said DNA had been preserved and recovered and would implicate him.

She said the community had lived in fear "caused by an enigma of the dark" and in coming months the prosecution would demystify that enigma.

"There was one killer and that killer was Bradley Robert Edwards," she said.

The trial is being held without a jury owing to the publicity surrounding the case.

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