It was the Australia Day weekend 1996.
Perth woke to the shocking news that an 18-year-old had been reported missing after not returning home from a night out in Claremont with friends.
Little did we know that her disappearance would be just the beginning of Australia's most expensive and longest running investigation.
She was the first victim of the Claremont Serial Killer, but her body has never been found.
In this bonus episode, we're joined by veteran journalist Alison Fan, who became close to the Spiers family since their daughter and sister was reported missing. Alison recounts the desperation felt by Sarah's heartbroken family to find the loving and happy young woman.
We take you through the person Sarah was, the search for the 18-year-old and the torment her family has gone through in the 24 years she's been missing, including false hopes and clairvoyants giving them leads that went nowhere.
As WA's trial of the century continues, the Spiers family say they've never given up hope of finding Sarah.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Alison Fan and Tim Clarke as they remember Sarah.
Guilty! After over twenty-four hours of deliberations a jury of seven men and five women came to a decision – Harvey Weinstein is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of two charges: criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted on three other charges including the most serious charges that would have sent him to prison for life. Seema Iyer and her special guest, Court TV anchor Ted Rowlands, will break down what the split decision means, how much time Harvey Weinstein could spend in prison and the impact this verdict could have on the indictment Weinstein has yet to face in Los Angeles. For the latest updates and full trial coverage, watch Court TV.
Harvey Weinstein Trial
After weeks of testimony the fate of Harvey Weinstein is in the hands of twelve jurors, charged with determining whether Harvey Weinstein is guilty as charged. The drama of the trial didn’t end with the closing arguments though, as lead defense council Donna Rotunno published an op-ed the prosecution contends was an attempt to communicate directly with the jury. Vinnie Politan will update us on all that has happened since closing arguments and he’ll talk to special guest, Court TV Legal correspondent Chanley Painter, who has been in the courtroom for the Weinstein trial since day one of jury selection and will share her unique perspective on the proceedings, including her observations of the jury itself. For the latest updates and full trial coverage, watch Court TV.
Harvey Weinstein Trial
Due to technical issues, we were unable to post this week's podcast at the regularly scheduled time. We apologize for the delay.
n April of 2018 Harvey Weinstein hired Juda Englemayer of the PR firm Herald PR to represent him during his legal battle. Seema Iyer sits down with Juda, who has been by Harvey’s side throughout the entire trial, to find out what it’s like inside Harvey’s legal team and how the movie mogul is navigating the impact of the accusations on his career and relationships.
With the defense resting its case and both sides preparing for closing arguments, Vinnie and Seema look back on the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein. Was the prosecution able to convince the jury of his guilt? Or did his defense team do enough to establish reasonable doubt? Has the international attention that has been focused on One Center Street, the New York criminal courthouse, had any impact on the proceedings? And what can we expect from both sides during closing arguments? For the latest updates and full trial coverage, watch Court TV.
Harvey Weinstein Trial
Seema's Weinstein Article
Seema Iyer is in New York City where the prosecution has just rested its case in chief against Harvey Weinstein. She’ll update us on the State’s final witness– actress/model Lauren Young – who claims Weinstein sexually assaulted her in an LA hotel in 2013. And the return of another of Weinstein’s accusers – Tarale Wulff – who testified earlier in the trial but had to be recalled in order to finish her cross examination.
Harvey Weinstein Trial
Two weeks into the Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial and it is proving to be as dramatic as anticipated. Our host Seema Iyer is in New York with the Court TV field team to be as close to the trial as possible. She’ll give us her take on the testimony so far and the controversial revelations no one saw coming. Seema also spends time with Court TV correspondents Julia Jenae and Chanley Painter, who are inside the courtroom every day, to get their perspective on the trial thus far. For the latest updates and full trial coverage, watch Court TV.
Harvey Weinstein Trial
Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial could send him to prison for the rest of his life. In the end his fate rests in the hands of a jury of his peers – 12 people who are currently being selected in a New York City courtroom. But how do you find an impartial jury for one of the most talked about criminal trials in the nation? Will protests on the court house steps sway prospective juror’s opinions or will they literally be able to block out the noise to focus on the case? Potential witnesses include such A-list talent as Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek. Does their star power make them more believable on the stand? Vinnie and Seema will dig into all of it plus discuss how they expect the case to proceed once a jury has been seated. For the latest updates and full trial coverage, watch Court TV.
Hollywood's A List Make The Witness List
Judge scolds Weinstein
It has been revealed for the first time that Ciara Glennon may have been struck on the back of her head in the moments before her death.
The blow may have stunned, or rendered her semi-conscious.
This information we can bring to you now, because late on day 32 of the Claremont Serial Killings trial, Justice Stephen Hall lifted the suppression order put in place the day before, which had banned all details about Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon’s autopsies being broadcast to the public.
After an application by Seven West Media, and negotiations with the prosecution, an order was made to be able to publish limited details from the two murdered womens’ post-mortems.
In this information, was the revelation that Ciara had a small fracture to her skull, which pathologist Dr Karin Margolius said was likely to have been inflicted by a sharp object shortly before her death.
As Tim Clarke and Alison Fan explain, the injuries suffered to both Jane and Ciara extend further than the ‘neck defects’. They had injuries consistent with ‘a boxer’s stance’, which pathologist Clive Cooke called ‘classic self-defence wounds.’
As for their cause of death, It’s likely Ciara Glennon died from the large neck injuries she suffered. These were at the back and sides of her neck.
In this podcast, Tim Clarke explains why Jane Rimmer’s was inconclusive.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Alison Fan as they wrap up week seven of WA’s trial of the century, discussing the information that’s been allowed to be broadcast, as well as explaining why we can hear it now.
For more on the Claremont Serial Killings trial, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
Before Day 31’s evidence in the Claremont Serial Killings trial could be heard, Justice Stephen Hall issues a temporary suppression order on all details regarding the post mortems of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, including any injuries and the causes of death.
Justice Hall said the suppression was made at the request of the victim’s families.
The suppression order was put in place just before evidence from the pathologist who carried out the post mortems of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon was read out to the court.
Dr Karin Margolius died from cancer in 2010, so her evidence is restricted to the reports she made during the two women's autopsies.
It leaves us with the question. Will we find out the caue of death of Jane and Ciara?
This left court reporters from every media outlet with not a lot to write about, except that a ban had been put in place.
As Tim Clarke explains, media outlets and their lawyers have put in a submission to the court to have access to these details eventually. Just how much detail Justice Hall allows to be broadcast is to be determined.
One important note, which Justice Hall stressed, is that the details discussed in court today didn’t stop at just the media. Anyone from the public who was present in the packed court room was also banned from broadcasting on social media, even talking about the details discussed in court.
Tim Clarke explains the penalties which could arise from a breach of this order.
Joined by forensic scientist Brendan Chapman, we take you through the inner workings of a forensic lab, why dental records are so important and answer some of your questions.
If you have a question for the podcast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To hear what goes into making the Claremont in Conversation podcast, your behind the scenes look can be found at https://omny.fm/shows/true-crime-conversations/claremont-serial-killer/embed
The forensic officer who was involved with the collection of what is now seen as key pieces of evidence for the prosecution has revealed one of those pieces of evidence mysteriously disappeared after it was stored for the weekend at police HQ after Ciara Glennon’s autopsy.
Sgt Adam McCulloch, who was in his second day of evidence, told the court a white fibre labelled AJM23 - which was collected during a Polilight exam on Ciara's body - was missing.
It’s unknown, and will probably never be known the importance, if any, this fibre would have played in the trial.
This evidence, and more on questions surrounding Sgt McCulloch’s exhibit labelling and the sealing of samples using proper procedure on Day 30 of the Claremont Serial Killings Trial. Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Emily Moulton as they discuss the day’s evidence, and answer some of your questions you’ve sent in.
If you have a question for the podcast team, send it to email@example.com
Day 29 started out unusually in court, with an officer asked to spell the words ‘maggot’ and ‘entomology’ for the court as his cross examination started.
The spelling test however, wasn’t just for fun, the court was told during evidence collection, several copies of exhibit lists were made, and one officer simply couldn’t spell those two words, and could identify his writing through his spelling of ‘magat’ and ‘antomology’.
Also to take the stand, the forensic officer who collected exhibits from the 1995 Karrakatta rape. He told the court it was him who incorrectly labelled one of the items as a skirt, when they were in fact shorts. After weeks of questioning other witnesses, scrutiny of the labelling of evidence, Sergeant Adam McCulloch told the court he simply made a mistake, which was rectified.
Some of the questions sent in by podcast listeners have queried whether the item was a ‘skort’, a mix between the two. However, Sgt McCulloch didn’t have an answer to that.
Another witness, a mortuary technician who helped with Ciara Glennon’s autopsy told the court in 1997, while they had some idea of hair and fibre transfer when touching a body, they didn’t have an understanding that the same could happen with DNA.
Brian Mouchmore told the court he was aware that a skin flake or hair could get onto a body without touching it, but admitted he didn’t really know mortuary instruments could transfer DNA from one part of the body to another.
As Tim Clarke explains, Mr Mouchemore was also quizzed on the length of his beard.
Join him, Natalie Bonjolo and Alison Fan as they take you through the events of day 29.
If you have any questions for the team, or any of the Claremont in Conversation guests, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org
And for more on the Claremont Serial Killings trial, including Tim Clarke’s stories and the West’s live blog, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
After three women went missing from the same area within less than two years of each other, police concluded they could be looking for a serial killer.
So they brought in FBI-trained profilers to try and get inside the mind of the person responsible for the murders of two women, and the disappearance of another.
Serial killer experts Claude Minisini and Captain David Caldwell were in Perth, after being invited by MACRO detectives when Ciara’s body was found dumped in bushland in Eglington on April 3, 1997.
The FBI experts were brought up by Supt John Leembruggen during his evidence on day 28 of WA’s trial of the century.
Supt Leembruggen, who was a detective with the MACRO taskforce in 1997, told the court he escorted the two experts into the crime scene of Ciara Glennon’s body. As Tim Clarke explains, the experts' inclusion in the investigation was contentious at the time, and even more contentious, was what they said.
Mr Caldwell had created a profile of the killer while in Perth. He told WA media at the time he believed the then unknown suspect “really enjoys the killing” and “only capture or the killer’s death would stop him taking more lives.”
In this podcast, the team also discuss the injuries found on Ciara Glennon’s body, more quizzing of mortuary technicians of how they collected evidence, and why one of the technicians put a towel meant for cleaning up after an autopsy over his shoulders.
All of that, plus legal analysis and answers to some of your questions by defence lawyer Damien Cripps on day 28 of Claremont in conversation.
If you have a question, send it in to email@example.com
And for more on the Claremont serial killings trial, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
***WARNING: Graphic Content***
Ciara Glennon's fingernail clippings are the key pieces of evidence the prosecution have to say why they'll prove Bradley Robert Edwards is the Claremont Serial Killer.
The reason why they're so crucial, is because DNA found under those fingernails contained the DNA of the accused, and the prosecution say it got there because of a struggle.
When Ciara Glennon’s body was found on April 3, 1997, she also had defensive wounds on her arms and hands, indicating she fought for her life.
On day 27 of the Claremont Serial Killings trial, the court heard from the mortuary manager who collected those key pieces of evidence. Dr Robert Macdermit, who had conducted more than 10,000 autopsies during his career, clipped Ciara's fingernails, and detailed the grim task that was conducting her post-mortem.
In that autopsy, Ciara's hair mass was also taken, a gruesome task which was explained in full to the court by Dr Macdermit. Ciara's hair is also an important piece of evidence for the prosecution, because several blue and grey fibres, which they say are from the Telstra uniform and Commodore station wagon used by Bradley Edwards at the time.
However, during his cross examination it was revealed Dr Macdermit could have driven a commodore to the post mortem that day.
The defence also noticed what looked like another body present in the room of the time of Ciara's post-mortem. They also got Dr Macdermit to admit they used the same utensils for different body parts, which were rinsed off during the procedure.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Alison Fan as they explain the details of day 27.
If you have any questions for the Claremont in Conversation team, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on WA's trial of the century, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
The defence team for the accused Claremont Serial Killer, Bradley Edwards focussed on forensic collection errors made by police when Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon’s bodies were found in 1996 and 1997.
Sergeant Gary Hyde was grilled about errors in transcripts and data entry of forensic pieces from samples collected from the murdered women.
On day 26, we’re joined by forensic expert Brendan Chapman, who helps walk us through some of the potential risks incorrect entries in forensic databases can arise, as well as answer your questions about DNA and forensics.
We also got a glimpse of the type of person Ciara Glennon was in life, with photos of her bedroom just hours after she went missing shown to the court.
The moment trapped in time, as the court saw clothes strewn across her bed and shoes on the floor. The bedroom left by a woman in a hurry, never to return.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Brendan Chapman as they navigate the world of forensics and DNA.
For more on the trial, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
Don’t forget you can send in your questions for the team and any of our guests to email@example.com
The question of who handled evidence samples from the two murdered women’s bodies, will become key in both the prosecution and defence’s arguments.
Today, on day 25, we got our first glimpse of just how in depth the witnesses will be expected to remember of their dealings with samples.
Forensic police officer Gary Hyde told the court he was present during the day Ciara Glennon’s body was found, he took photos of her post-mortem the next day, and handled several exhibits.
He was responsible for sending off a critical hair sample to the FBI in 1999.
He also told the court he handled evidence which had been tested by key forensic scientist Laurie Webb in 2012, who went on to be sacked in 2016 for cutting corners.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Emily Moulton as they take you through how the evidence was labelled, where it went, as well as discussing Yakka workwear, and why it has become so important to this case.
For more on the Claremont Serial Killings Trial, head to https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings
You can send in any questions you have about the trial to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following Jane Rimmer’s post-mortem, the pathologist who carried it out gave one of the detectives a lock of Jane’s hair.
The detective, Vicky Young then washed, brushed and placed an elastic around it and gave it to the Rimmer family.
During her evidence today, she said it was an act of compassion. But she also said the hair was covered in fluids and matter when it was given to her.
On the podcast for day 24 of the Claremont Serial Killings trial, Alison Fan, Tim Clarke and Natalie Bonjolo discuss this act of kindness, and whether this could have an impact in the case against Bradley Edwards.
In a massive day of WA’s trial of the century, several police officers were questioned, including the first Macro Taskforce detective, who organised a massive search - which included TRG officers - of the Wellard area following the discovery of Jane Rimmer’s body, for Sarah Spiers.
But they didn’t find anything. Sarah still has never been found.
Also today, for Sergeant Barry Mott revealed he drove to Jane Rimmer’s crime scene in a station wagon, the type of car the prosecution says Bradley Edwards used when the murders happened, and fibres from it which were found in both Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon’s bodies.
Join the Claremont in Conversation podcast team as they discuss why this new information may be an obstacle for the prosecution.
Send in your questions for the team at email@example.com
****WARNING: Some viewers may find the content discussed in this episode distressing****
The doctor who examined the 17-year-old who was brutally raped by Bradley Edwards in 1995 has recalled the horrific injuries the teenager suffered that night.
In Day 23 of the Claremont serial killings trial Dr Amanda Barnard gave evidence saying while she had examined thousands of women during her career as a doctor for the sexual assault resource centre, the injuries inflicted on the 17-year-old by Bradley Robert Edwards almost 25 years ago had stayed with her.
Bradley Edwards pleaded guilty to the rape, in which he abducted the teenager while she was walking to a friends’ house in Claremont on February 11, 1995.
He grabbed the 17-year-old from behind, bound her hands, put a hood over her head and carried her to his van, where he tied her legs, drove her to Karrakatta Cemetery where he then brutally raped the teenager twice.
Dr Barnard, who was working at the sexual assault resource centre at the time told the court how the teenager’s examination was ‘painful and difficult’, saying,
“I think the things that made this particular case stick in my mind were the violent nature of assault by a stranger, the fact that she had been hooded and restrained, the extent and painfulness of her injuries and given the fact of her youth and that she was a virgin,”
But while on the stand, the doctor was quizzed about how she collected samples from the teenager, how they were stored and who she sent them to.
The defence say these samples – which were found to have Bradley Edwards’ DNA on them were cross-contaminated with the fingernail clippings from Ciara Glennon.
But the prosecution say they were never even stored on the same shelf, let alone could be contaminated, and previously called the suggestion of cross contamination an “Exercise in errant fantasy”.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and criminal defence lawyer Damien Cripps as they take you through day 23 of the Claremont Serial Killings trial.
If you, or anyone you know has been affected by the content in this podcast, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
Or the sexual assault resource centre on 1800 199 888
When police arrived at the scenes where Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon’s bodies had been dumped, They didn’t have to wear gloves to prevent cross contamination.
On day 22 of the Claremont Serial Killings trial, former forensic police officer Robert Hemelaar took the stand for a third day where it was revealed there wasn’t a big focus on preserving a crime scene in the mid 1990s.
He said there was no protocol for wearing gloves and covers for their boots, only that gloves should be worn while handling ‘deceased matter’, for their own safety.
During his cross examination by defence lawyer Paul Yovich, Mr Hemelaar admitted he had handled some evidence - a tree branch - with his bare hands.
The court had been told tree branches had been pulled off nearby trees and placed over both Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon’s bodies to partially conceal them.
He also said a key piece of evidence, a hair sample from Ciara Glennon which the prosecution says contained fibres matching unique Telstra shorts, the kind issued to Bradley Edwards while he was working at Telstra, had not been videoed while being collected from Ciara’s body. It was revealed that the sample had also not had tamper-proof tape stuck on the container until years after it was collected.
Cross-contamination is the main case the defence has said will provide reasonable doubt about whether Bradley Edwards is the Claremont Serial Killer.
Join Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Alison Fan as they take you through Day 22’s evidence, and answer some of your questions.
If you have a question for the podcast team, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find all of the exhibits released by Justice Hall at https://thewest.com.au/news/claremont-serial-killings/claremont-serial-killings-trial-all-the-exhibits-released-to-the-media-in-bradley-edwards-supreme-court-trial-ng-b881415460z
Former forensic police officer Robert Hemelaar gave his evidence for the whole of day 21 of the Claremont Serial Killings Trial.
He narrated an hour-long video from Ciara Glennon’s burial site, revealing graphic details and forensic clues as to how police collected and stored DNA samples found on the 27-year-old’s body.
Joined in the studio by forensic expert Brendan Chapman, Natalie Bonjolo, Tim Clarke and Emily Moulton take you through exactly how forensic officers collect samples, and most importantly, how they avoid contamination.
A key piece of evidence was also hinted at during the trial - the fact that some of Ciara Glennon’s fingernails were broken, couple d with the defensive wounds on her arms, the prosecution said that Ciara fought for her life the night she died.
But under those broken fingernails, the prosecution says was Bradley Edwards’ DNA.
Going the Claremont in Conversation team as they take you through day 21 of WA’s trial of the century.
Don’t forget to send your questions to email@example.com