Impossible to rule out if Jane Rimmer was raped, court hears
JANE Rimmer's body was so decomposed that the possibility of rape could not be ruled out, the Claremont serial killings trial has heard.
Former Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards, 51, denies murdering secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, and childcare worker Ms Rimmer, 23, in 1996, and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1997, but admits attacking two other women in 1988 and 1995.
Forensic pathologist Clive Cooke continued his testimony today, telling the WA Supreme Court trial there was no evidence Ms Rimmer had been "sexually penetrated" before she was killed but said "the absence of injury, of course, doesn't mean it didn't occur".
Ms Rimmer's naked body was found in Wellard bushland almost two months after she vanished following a night out in the affluent Perth suburb of Claremont.
Dr Cooke agreed with the now-deceased lead forensic pathologist Karin Margolius, who concluded Ms Rimmer's cause of death was unascertainable but the possibility of it being a neck injury could not be excluded.
He also agreed the diamond-shaped defect to Ms Rimmer's neck and a wound to her wrist were consistent with being caused by a sharp implement.
The court was previously told Ms Rimmer's hyoid bone was missing, but the court heard on Tuesday that a small fragment was found in her hair.
Ms Glennon's decomposing body was found in Eglinton bushland almost three weeks after she disappeared from Claremont.
She had multiple wounds, including a 21cm neck injury, and Dr Cooke said only 7cm of skin on the left side of her neck was intact.
"The knife can go in and cut at a certain angle and then change direction inside and then come out at a different angle," Dr Cooke said.
"It slices as it goes in, it slices as it comes out, and in doing so can generate a V.
"You can get a sawing action as well." Dr Cooke said the "tide line" blood staining on Ms Glennon's shirt indicated she was lying on the ground when her neck was cut.
According to Dr Margolius, the victim had a small depressed fracture to her skull, possibly caused by a blow to the back of the head that may have "momentarily stunned" her or rendered her semiconscious before she was murdered.
But Dr Cooke disagreed, saying further examination in 2013 indicated the skull defect was naturally occurring and called a wormian bone.
The court also heard Ms Glennon's skirt was crumpled, "twisted and partly torn".
Dr Margolius determined Ms Glennon's cause of death was a neck injury.
Dr Cooke said it was a "fair assessment" but these days pathologists would be more conservative and likely say it was unascertainable but consistent with a neck injury.
Ms Spiers' has never been found.
Edwards has pleaded guilty to abducting and twice raping a 17-year-old girl he dragged through Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, and attacking an 18-year-old woman as she slept in her Huntingdale home in 1988.
Prosecutors rely heavily on DNA and fibre evidence to convict Edwards of the murders, but his defence team argues contamination may be a factor.