AS she turned off her bathroom shower, Liz Kirkby stepped into a scene straight out of a horror film.
Standing before her was a man dressed in a nightie with underwear on his hear, who proceeded to throw the mum-of-three to the floor and brutally beat her.
The serial killer was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2020[/caption]
It wasn’t until nearly 30 years later that Liz would discover her attacker was the serial killer and rapist Bradley Robert Edwards.
He was the warped monster behind the Claremont Murders, the longest and most expensive murder case in Western Australia’s history, which spanned across more than 24 years.
Liz narrowly escaped Edwards when he broke into her house in Huntingdale, WA, but was still left with a fractured skull, swollen face and two black eyes.
In Night Stalker: Terror In A Small Town, airing on Channel 5 tonight, she recalls how the terrifying attack came eight years before Edwards’ first murder – but says she wasn’t taken seriously by police due to being a single mum.
Liz Kirkby was brutally attacked by Edwards decades before[/caption]
In the late 1980s, an astonishing 26 incidents were reported to police about a person dubbed the ‘Huntingdale Prowler’.
They involved a man breaking into houses, stealing underwear and attacking women – all with a similar description to Liz’s attacker.
In the documentary, Liz recalls: “I was 24, 25, and I was divorced with three children, and being a single mother wasn’t that common in those days.
“I just bought a house in Huntingdale, of which I was really proud.”
In the days before the attack, Liz had arranged for a phone line to be installed in her house, but felt so uncomfortable with the engineer that she called up her dad.
“I couldn’t wait for him to go,” she says, before adding of her attacker: “That’s why I decided to myself that it was probably him, that’s how he found me.”
Recalling her attack, she goes on to explain: “I just got home from work in the evening, I worked in a bottle shop. I let the cat out, because I had kittens, that’s why the door was opened. That’s how he got in.
“I was just going out of the shower and he was in my toilet. He had a woman’s nightie on and what I think were undies on his head.
“At first I thought it was a joke, when I saw him. I couldn’t see his full face; I could see his eyes, they went dark, clearly to match his soul.
“Then he pushed me against the wall and I had a fractured skull and I fell onto the floor and he was beating me.”
It was Liz’s children – and her fears for them – that gave her the strength to escape from the attacker.
She continues: “Oddly I thought he wanted the kids, I did think he’d have to kill me before he could get to the children.
“So that’s what probably protected me, it was that maternal instinct, protecting the children.
“I kneed him in the groin and he got off and ran out the backdoor and it wasn’t until I saw myself that I realised how bad it was.
“My face wasn’t recognisable because it was so swollen. And the bruises and the two black eyes. He was very brutal, very strong.”
Despite this, she claims police never put enough effort into finding the culprit.
She says: “I think if I lived somewhere in a better suburb, there perhaps would have been more resources put into looking for him.
“But certainly being a Huntingdale single mum, I don’t think there was an importance placed upon it that there should have been.
“And the police didn’t tell me at the time that I was one of many.”
She adds: “I didn’t know that until recently.”
The kimono that helped bring Edwards to justice[/caption]
Scrapings from Ciara’s fingernails were also key evidence[/caption]
In January 1996, secretary Sarah Spiers, 17, went missing after a night out in Claremont, Perth.
Five months later, childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, disappeared from the same area, and was later found dead.
Then, eight months later, solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, was found dead – also around the same busy area of Claremont.
Police searched for the culprit of these three crimes for years, in the most expensive and extensive case in Western Australia history.
But it wasn’t until 2016, thanks to the progress in DNA analysis, that they finally arrested Edwards, and linked him to the Huntingdale Prowler too.
Nail clippings which had been collected from the body of Ciara in 1997 were put through testing again in the 2010s, and matched the DNA linked to the Huntingdale Prowler.
In 2016, Edwards, now 54, was arrested for the murders of Sarah, Ciara and Jane.
He was living with his daughter, in her 20s, at a home in Kewdale and her screams of terror were heard around the neighbourhood as he was shoved into the police car.
His second wife had left him two years prior and he had been working as a senior electrical engineer for Telstra, and volunteering at athletics clubs.
Liz says: “Finding out the man who had assaulted me was Bradley Edwards had a profound effect on me emotionally and psychologically.
“You go through a lot of things. What if they’d have caught him back then? But we’ll never know.
“I’ve thought about it thousands of times. How can he go 30-odd years committing the most heinous crimes this country has ever seen and never get caught?”
Justice at last
Police at the Kewdale home of Bradley Robert Edwards in 2016[/caption]
Bradley Robert Edwards was a volunteer at athletic clubs in his local community[/caption]
The first of Edwards’ known attacks was all the way back in 1988, when he crept into the bedroom of his 18-year-old neighbour.
Wearing a nightie, stockings and silk kimono – which he left behind – he climbed on top of her as she slept, before fleeing the scene.
This kimono became central to the investigation into the Claremont Killings, as it was kept by police as evidence and re-examined years later.
In the 2010s, Edwards’ DNA was found in semen on the silk kimono, as well as under murdered Ciara’s fingernails.
The DNA also linked him to another incident the year before Sarah went missing.
A 17-year-old girl had reported how she’d been abducted from the street and thrown into the back of a van.
With a hood pulled over her face and her neck tied, she was dragged to a cemetery and sexually assaulted.
In 2020, Edwards was subject to a trial that lasted six months, and only had a judge with no jury.
He denied murdering the three women, and never gave evidence.
Justice Stephen Hall eventually found him guilty of murdering Ciara and Jane.
He said there wasn’t enough DNA evidence to find him guilty of the murder of Sarah, due to her body never being found, but said it was “likely” he did kill her too.
He sentenced him to at least 40 years before he has any chance of parole.
He called Edwards a “dangerous predator who sought out vulnerable young women and attacked them for your own gratification”.
Speaking of Jane and Ciara, he added: “They were both young women with family and friends who loved them. They had good jobs and lots to live for.
“By your actions you not only robbed them of their lives, but their hopes, their dreams and the dreams of others for them.”
Night Stalker: Terror In A Small Town, airs on Channel 5 tonight.
A Telstra-issued knife found in bushland in Wellard[/caption]