Courage of Irishwoman murdered in Australia helped bring killer to justice

Father pays moving tribute as man convicted 22 years after his daughter was murdered
Courage of Irishwoman murdered in Australia helped bring killer to justice

Ciara Glennon had moved to Australia as a five-year-old from her native Mayo and was a 27-year-old lawyer in 1997 when she went missing. File picture.

The father of an Irishwoman murdered in one of Australia's most infamous crimes has spoken movingly about his daughter, after her killer was finally brought to justice after 22 years.

Ciara Glennon had moved to Australia as a five-year-old from her native Mayo and was a 27-year-old lawyer in 1997 when she went missing in a suburb of Perth, in the west of the country. 

Along with 22-year-old childcare worker Jane Rimmer and 18-year-old secretary Sarah Spiers, who also disappeared in similar circumstances, Ms Glennon's case would spark one of the most complex and arduous investigations ever seen in Australia, with the three becoming linked in the so-called 'Claremont serial killings'.

After 22 years, Bradley Edwards was convicted of the murders of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer, but not guilty of Ms Spiers. The body of Ms Spiers has never been found, while the bodies of the other two women were found weeks after their disappearances.

In finding Bradley Edwards guilty of the two murders, Justice Stephen Hall said it was more likely he had also killed Ms Spiers, but that he could not say so beyond a reasonable doubt in the eyes of the law.

A father's tribute

Ms Glennon's father Denis paid a glowing tribute to his daughter after the verdict in Western Australia supreme court.

"Crimes such as these inflict unforeseeable collateral damage. The past is unquestionably engulfed by sadness. As a family, the past is transcended by the fond memories of Ciara… by her spirit, her friendship, and above all, her courage," he said.

His daughter's courage had led to her murderer, Mr Glennon said.

"When Ciara was deemed a missing person, I appealed for help to find her, in a press conference like this, in this very same room. And through tears, I said ‘She would fight for her life because of the way she was brought up’. And little did we know then how prophetic these words would be: as she fought to save her life she left us the vital DNA clues."

Haunted memories

Bradley Edwards was arrested in 2016, and held on remand until his trial began in November last year, ending in June.

The 51-year-old former technician for Australian telecommunications firm Telstra killed the women in violent fashion, Justice Hall found.

The judge said the murders had "haunted the memories of many people and troubled the public conscience" over more than two decades, and had led to a "real and pervasive sense of fear" in the community.

The murderer had admitted to two sex attacks on teenagers in 1995 last year, but denied involvement in the killings of the three women.

His denials came despite the fact that DNA was found under Ms Glennon’s left thumb and middle fingernail when it was tested in 2008. The murderer admitted it was his DNA, but had no explanation as to how it got there.

He is expected to be sentenced in December.

 

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