A hand around my face. It had a CLOTH on it ... I thought I was GOING TO DIE
Victim grabbed by accused reveals her anguish
The woman attacked by accused Claremont serial killer Bradley Edwards at Hollywood Hospital in 1990 has told how she believed she going to be killed.
Giving evidence at his trial yesterday, the social worker revealed her intense fear when his cloth-covered hand smothered her mouth as he ambushed her from behind.
“His hand came around my face, it had a cloth on it, it pushed into my face and I thought there was something on there,” she told the Supreme Court.
“I thought I was going to die. I honestly thought I was going to die.”
A lone, vulnerable woman who was attacked from behind by Bradley Robert Edwards — an attack prosecutors say was part of an escalation into him becoming a triple killer — has told a court how she thought she was going to die as he grabbed her.
The woman, whose identity is suppressed, gave a dramatic and distressing account of how in May 1990, Mr Edwards jumped her from behind as she wrote a report as part of her role as a senior social worker at Hollywood Hospital.
She remembered the date because it coincided with her young daughter’s birthday.
And despite it being nearly 30 years ago, the woman said the attack still left her feeling distressed today — because when Mr Edwards’ clothcovered hand smothered her mouth, she believed her life was about to end.
“His hand came around my face, it had a cloth on it, it pushed into my face and I thought there was something on there,” she said.
“I thought I was going to die, I honestly thought I was going to die.
“The other arm hoiked me right back. I was struggling and struggling. I thought there was something on the cloth but after a few seconds I realised I had to breathe. There was nothing on the cloth.
“I thought I have a chance here,” she said.
The woman, now aged in her late 60s, said she could feel herself being dragged towards a toilet. But as she began to kick out at her attacker — who had been working at the hospital upgrading phone lines — the struggle ended.
“One minute I was fighting, and I felt fighting for my life, and the next minute it just stopped. And he was saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’,” she said.
"The struggle lasted about 10 seconds and all of a sudden it just stopped.
“And I fell back and I just looked at him. He started to move towards me and said: ‘I'm sorry, I'm sorry’. And I was getting out of there as quick as I could.”
Mr Edwards was quickly apprehended by hospital security, and when police later charged him with common assault, he pleaded guilty immediately. He was eventually given two years probation by a magistrate, and ordered into a sex offender program — even though he was not charged with a sexual offence.
In the week before sentencing, two psychologists interviewed Mr Edwards — and were both told by him he had “acted out” in public because of private pressures at home.
Both those psychologists, Paul McEvoy and Lyn Millett, told the court he had told them about similar issues.
“Mr Edwards explained he had a heavier emotional burden when his de facto wife informed him of her infidelity
with a previous boyfriend. He said while he understood . . . he acknowledged he was deeply distressed by the admission,” Mr McEvoy read from his report.
“He said nothing was going right for me, that he was not angry with the victim. He was in a state of emotional distress and reports further frustration as the job he was doing was not going well. He did indicate he was slightly annoyed because the victim answered a question in a manner that had irritated him.”
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo has argued the Hollywood hospital assault, an earlier break-in in Huntingdale in 1988, and a rape in Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995 showed Mr Edwards’ common mode of attack — targeting lone women, attacking from behind for a sexual motive.
And she last week confirmed the Hollywood incident — and the police records left behind because of it — became central to Claremont detectives, because it finally gave them a name to go with forensic evidence strands collected over the years.
It was also revealed yesterday that detectives hunting the Claremont killer were seriously looking at Telstra cars as early as July 1996 – just weeks after Ms Rimmer vanished.
A fax from police to the telcom showed an inquiry about the drivers of particular Telstra cars in February 1995. That was the date of the brutal rape in Karrakatta Cemetery which Mr Edwards has now admitted. A list of those drivers was provided by Telstra, but Mr Edwards’ name was not on it.
What could be found were records showing the various vehicles Mr Edwards drove during his long career with Telstra.
Lynda Eldridge, a recently retired Telstra business analyst specialist, showed that at the time of Sarah Spiers’ disappearance, Mr Edwards was assigned a Toyota Camry wagon.
And when Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were taken and murdered, his company car was a white Holden Commodore station wagon, registration 9GP082.