Thu, 5 Dec, 2019

Face of mystery driver revealed in Claremont serial killer trial

Face of mystery driver revealed in Claremont serial killer trial

A mystery driver’s face who was seen creeping around a young woman the same night Sarah Spiers vanished, has been revealed to the jury in the Claremont serial killings trial.

The never-before-seen composite was a description given to police over 21 years ago by Julie-Anne Johnstone.

The man accused, Bradley Robert Edwards, sat just metres away from the woman during his trial after prosecutors accused the now 50-year-old of the murder of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon in the mid 1990’s.

The former Telstra electrician has plead not guilty.

Ms Spiers was last seen after calling a taxi from a phone box in Claremont, Western Australia, just one day after Australia day in 1996.

The 18-year-old’s body has never been found.

Julie-Anne Johnson, now 45, was just like Ms Spiers the night before when she left Club Bayview in the early hours of the morning to find a taxi by herself.

Ms Johnson told the court she had been waiting on Stirling Highway when a white sedan pulled up in front of her.

She says the male driver “leaned over the passenger’s side” and stared at her for 10 to 30 minutes.

The woman admitted she wasn’t the best with distinguishing car models but determined the vehicle the man was driving looked like a Toyota Camry sedan and had a Telstra logo on the side of the door.

Edwards was assigned the same model of car for his Telstra job at the time. 

Ms Johnson is one of a few several apparent “living witnesses” who survived Edward’s offering of lifts in the mid 90’s, prosecutors say.

Bradley Robert Edwards

Annabel Johnson, 45, is another woman who says she was a passenger of a mystery man’s car.

She says she had a “strong instinct” to force herself out of the vehicle after accepting a ride.

Both she and her friends Trilby Smith hitched a ride after a night out in Cottesloe, Western Australia in December 1996, when a white station wagon approached them on Eric Street.

She told the court they were walking home from the Ocean Beach Hotel when the white station wagon in question slowed down to them on Eric Street, and returned from the other direction sometime later.

The court claims the driver offered them a ride which they accepted.

Ms Bushell said the vehicle looked like a Commodore or Camry and had a large Telstra logo placed on the bonnet.

She says she remembers approaching a traffic lights on Stirling Highway in Claremont and “just wanting to get out,” so made an excuse to quickly exit as she dragged her drunk friend out of the back seat.

Trilby Smith’s memory differs to her friend who described the vehicle as an “electrical van” and getting out at a different part of Claremont.

Ms Bushell said they'd had 15 to 29 middies of beer between them that evening, but her friend was more drunk than her and had fallen asleep.