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 West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - TIM CLARKE Le­gal Af­fairs Ed­i­tor

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.