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Why The Claremont Killings Changed Perth’s 20-Something Women Forever

It’s the murder trial many West Australians feared would never happen.

Now, more than two decades after the Claremont serial killings, there’s hope that a city shaken to its very core will finally get answers -- and more importantly, justice.

Justice for three young women, abducted from a wealthy western Perth suburb in the space of 14 months in the mid 1990s, who were brutally murdered.

The bodies of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon were found dumped in bushland weeks after their deaths, while the remains of first victim Sarah Spiers have never been found.

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What We Can Tell You About The Claremont Serial Killings Before The Trial

On Monday, November 25 the murder trial of Bradley Robert Edwards begins, as does the possibility of closure for the families of the three women he is accused of killing in the Perth suburb of Claremont in the mid-1990s.

More than 23 years later, I still vividly remember Sarah’s emotionally distraught family pleading for public help to find their 18-year-old daughter days after she disappeared.

It was out of character, and the Spiers family’s distress and desperation were heartbreaking to watch.

How could a young, pretty, responsible teen from a good family simply vanish without a trace?

It wasn’t until a second woman disappeared six months later -- 23-year-old childcare worker Jane Rimmer -- that our deepest fears started to be realised.

Claremont had become a hunting ground for a serial killer who was on the loose.

I was about the same age as Jane when she disappeared. As a young would-be journalist, the case was equally disturbing and gripping.

But for me, and for other women in their early 20s, it was also a defining moment that pivotally changed our behaviour.

Regular nights out on the town, drinking at pubs and clubs with girlfriends that were a weekend ritual changed overnight.

Until then, it had never entered our minds that that kind of danger could be lurking on Perth’s streets.

How did it happen without someone seeing something? And more frighteningly, could it happen to me?

The third abduction and murder of 27-year-old lawyer Ciara Glennon gripped the state in panic and hysteria.

Women were too afraid to go out or walk alone at night.

Taxi drivers became prime suspects after two of the girls had called for a cab while Claremont’s night scene became more of a ghost town.

WA had officially lost its innocence.

The Claremont, formerly known as The Continental Hotel, where Jane Rimmer was last seen outside. (Image: AAP)

In the months afterwards, detectives honed their attention on several long-suffering and innocent suspects as the Macro Taskforce dedicated itself to solving the shocking crimes.

But as the years dragged on with no arrests and no charges, eventually the city moved on and the Claremont case went cold.

That was until three years ago, when out of the blue news broke that police had made a dramatic arrest.

A 48-year-old Kewdale father and Little Athletics volunteer was taken into custody, to eventually be charged with all three women’s murders. He has pleaded not guilty to all three counts.

Bradley Robert Edwards in 2016. (Image AAP)

It was a shocking breakthrough that no one saw coming.

Who would have thought after all this time they’d finally arrest someone?

But his arrest has sparked so many more questions -- who is this man accused of such heinous crimes? And how had he been living an otherwise unremarkable suburban life?

As I prepare to cover Bradley Robert Edwards' trial in front of a judge alone this Monday, I can only hope we’ll finally get some of those answers --something the families of Sarah, Jane and Ciara have waited more than 20 years for, as they’re forced to again relive their pain.