Justice is not going to be served by convicting the unsuitable particular person of murdering “blameless victim” Sarah Spiers, the lawyer for the accused Claremont serial killer has advised his Perth trial.
Confessed rapist and ex-Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, denies murdering secretary Ms Spiers, 18, childcare employee Jane Rimmer, 23, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, within the mid-1990s.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich continued his prolonged closing submissions within the WA Supreme Courtroom on Tuesday, turning to the evening Ms Spiers vanished in January 1996.
“We don’t intend to trivialise Ms Spiers’ death or disrespect her. Quite the contrary,” he mentioned.
“The murder of Sarah Spiers was a grave crime and she is a blameless victim.
“However neither her reminiscence nor the curiosity of justice is served by convicting the unsuitable particular person of this crime, nor by convicting the accused on proof that doesn’t show his guilt past cheap doubt.”
Some witnesses gave evidence they heard “bloodcurdling screams” in nearby Mosman Park on the night she disappeared.
Wayne Stewart testified he heard two doors slam and saw a light-coloured station wagon with its lights on about 100 metres away.
Mr Stewart said the vehicle looked like a Toyota Corona. Edwards drove a Toyota Camry at the time.
Mr Yovich said Mr Stewart was the only witness who saw anything that might connect Edwards to the scream and therefore, according to prosecutors, to Ms Spiers’ murder.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo described Mr Stewart’s testimony as compelling, but Mr Yovich said the state had accepted Mr Stewart’s evidence to be correct except the exact description of the car.
He said it would be “unsafe” to conclude the car Mr Stewart saw was linked to Ms Spiers or that it was Edwards’ vehicle.
“Your Honour cannot even make certain that the screams and automotive are related.”
Mr Yovich questioned why a murderer would drive Ms Spiers to a well-lit street near a phone box and a block of flats.
He also pointed out Edwards had visited his estranged wife that night and had work early the next morning.
Although it did not constitute an alibi, Mr Yovich said logic suggested Edwards was unlikely to be the killer.
“It defies perception that he would select this evening (to commit homicide).”
Ms Spiers’ body has never been found, but Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were dumped in bushland at opposite ends of Perth.
Mr Yovich said any similarities between Ms Spiers’ death and the other murders were minimal and speculative.
Regarding Ms Rimmer’s murder in June 1996, Mr Yovich said the descriptions from two couples who heard screams in Wellard were different and may have been separate incidents.
He said unlike the double rape of a teenager at Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, which Edwards admits committing, there was nothing to indicate Ms Rimmer had been bound and gagged.
Mr Yovich also said it was outlandish that Edwards, if he was the killer, would discard a Telstra knife in the area.
Prosecutors do not suggest it is the murder weapon.
The trial, which is nearly seven months in, has heard from greater than 200 witnesses, whereas scientific proof contains DNA and fibre evaluation.