MAKO - Unsolved crimes - The Claremont Murders

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Serial killer will be caught

It's 8pm on Tuesday and Don Spiers is cleaning up after another 16-hour day of shearing sheep near Arthur River, about 200km south of Perth.
A former State open shearing champion, the 61-year-old still clips about 900 sheep a week - an impressive tally for a man of his vintage. Weary from the day's labour, he explains it's something he needs to do.
"That's what gets me through," Mr Spiers said. "People don't understand, they think I'm a workaholic, but that's how I deal with issues. Sometimes I'm fine and other times when the pressure starts building up, that's how I deal with things."
Sadly, a new generation of revellers have little idea who Mr Spiers is, or why he would work such long shifts to "deal with issues".
Mr Spiers is the father of Sarah Spiers, the bubbly and affectionate 18-year-old who vanished after a night with friends on Australia Day, 1996.
She was the first victim of the Claremont serial killer but her body has never been found.
The bodies of the killer's other two victims, Jane Rimmer (disappeared June 9, 1996) and Ciara Glennon (disappeared March 14, 1997), have.
Recently, little has been revealed about Operation Macro - one of the most costly, complex and controversial inquiries in WA's history - but acting Det-Supt Casey Prins said the crimes were solvable.
"We have a firm commitment to solve these crimes," he said, adding the passage of time may produce fresh leads.
He said there could be many reasons why the killings stopped, such as changes in lifestyle, location or police tactics: "We would be naive to think he may just be deceased."
The Spiers, Rimmers and Glennons are confident of a result.
"They are working hard and there are some good guys working in the task force and some of the guys in the past have also put in huge efforts," Mr Spiers said.
"I'm quite confident they are giving themselves a good chance of getting a resolution."
Jenny Rimmer said her daughter's murder haunted her. Since June 1996, the Rimmers have celebrated the birth of grandchildren and mourned the loss of loved ones, including Jane's father Trevor.
Mrs Rimmer believes police will solve the killings. "It won't ever put it to rest," she said.
A staunch supporter of the inquiry, Ciara's father Denis Glennon said the impact of the crime was huge.
"It is not a sob story, it is not a sad story, we have come out of it in many respects as much stronger people," Mr Glennon said.
Anniversaries only serve as a painful reminder for Mr Spiers.
His team of shearers are acutely aware of the date and, like many others, stand with him to provide unspoken support.
"I'll be sailing along great, just getting on with life then all of a sudden I'll feel all four walls coming in on me, there's nothing I can do about it," he said.
"Someone might upset me, they might ask questions maybe they shouldn't, and it just happens. I get through it . . . but those moments always come back."
Debate over the inquiry is background noise and Mr Spiers said some people treated his daughter's disappearance as part of a soap opera, forgetting it was real, involved real people and a real family. They want answers and, more than anything, they want Sarah back.
"I've got one daughter and two granddaughters, and there's still that hole there," he said. "What would my grandchildren to Sarah be like? What activities would we be involved in, that's something that has been denied to our family.
"You think about those situations when the family is together, my daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren are so close to us, yet I know something is still missing."
He said his granddaughters were the "greatest blessing" and would have had a fantastic aunt in Sarah. "She was so affectionate to her sister, and to Carol and I," he said.
"She was 18 and she was still doing it. She'd walk past and give me a pat on the shoulder or a peck on the cheek, just walking past, that was Sarah. The kids have been denied that.
"You can't dwell on it, it's been denied and you've got to get on with the other joys in life. Whoever the perpetrator is who took Sarah away from us, they have no idea of the torment and pain he has caused not just us but other families as well, he has even denied us the whereabouts of Sarah - that haunts me."
(The serial killer) has even denied us the whereabouts of Sarah - that haunts me " *Father Don Spiers *

The West Australian (22-1-2011)

Crime Investigation Australia - Hunt for a Killer - The Claremont Murders

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Prime Suspect Eliminated From Claremont Killings Probe

The Cottesloe public servant who was "the prime suspect" for the unsolved Claremont serial killings has reportedly been eliminated from the marathon probe.
The quietly spoken middle-aged man who for 20 months was subject to overt surveillance by detectives is no longer a person of interest in the case, Channel Nine News said tonight.
The Claremont killings probe is the longest-running active investigation in Australian policing history.
Nine claimed the man's family had been informed by detectives that he had been eliminated from their inquiries into the murders of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon in 1996 and 1997.
The Cottesloe man, who was living with his parents at the time, always pleaded his innocence.
The loner, who suffered from depression, came to police attention after he was caught driving around Claremont at night.
He maintained that he was concerned for the welfare of women there and was trying to protect them.
A major covert surveillance operation at his workplace became less than top secret when some of the monitoring equipment literally fell out of its hiding place in the ceiling and slammed onto his desk, missing his head by centimetres.
If that wasn't embarrassing enough, the stakeout at his home was blown when an unsuspecting ratepayer complained at a local council meeting that police were refusing to pay the water bill at a nearby scout hall.
A reporter from a community newspaper attending the meeting was treated to a description of how the surveillance squad was using the hall's toilet facilities while keeping an around-the-clock eye on the suspect.
Publicly outed, the police then turned overt and the media watched with amusement as unmarked cars carrying obvious police types shadowed their man's every move.
A tracking device was placed in his car and listening device was hidden in his home. Police even pulled up brick paving at his elderly parents' house.
Sarah Spiers, 18, is believed to have been the Claremont serial killer's first victim after she went missing on January 27, 1996. Her body has never been found.
Jane Rimmer, 23, was killed in early June of the same year, her body was discovered in bushland at Wellard, south of Perth, in August 1996.
Ciara Glennon, 27, was the last known victim and disappeared in March 1997. Her body was found north of Perth in bush off Pipidinny Road, Eglinton.
In August this year, police released publicly for the first time surveillance footage of an unknown ``person of interest'' that had been kept under wraps for 12 years.
The CCTV footage showed a man talking to Jane Rimmer outside the Continental Hotel in Claremont just before she vanished about midnight on June 9, 1996.

Crime Stoppers-1800 333 000.

PerthNow (26-11-2008)

Jane Rimmer Murder: Police Get 150 Calls

More than 150 people have called Crime Stoppers after yesterday's release of surveillance vision of Claremont murder victim Jane Rimmer.
Police appealed for help in finding the man who had a brief conversation with Ms Rimmer outside the Continental Hotel on the night she disappeared.
All the information has been passed to detectives from the Special Crime Squad who are reviewing the serial killings of Ms Rimmer, Sarah Spiers and Ciara Glennon.
They have renewed their appeal and would like to hear from anyone who has information, no matter how insignificant they may consider it.
The enhanced footage shows Ms Rimmer outside the hotel in Bay View Terrace just after midnight on Sunday June 9, 1996.
She has a brief conversation with a man, who is only seen from behind, and who then disappears from view.
Det Supt Jeff Byleveld described the conversation as a brief and minor interaction, when the vision was released.
He said the camera was rotating and 28 seconds elapsed between shots when she was seen talking to the man and him disappearing.
He said police did not know whether they were acquainted.
"There is just a glimpse from Ms Rimmer to him and then he moves on," Mr Byleveld said.
"It can be anything from a passing comment. It may not be that she knows this man. It may be that she does."
He said investigators were not sure why Ms Rimmer was standing on the pavement outside the hotel and there could be several reasons why the man is the only one in the vision who had not come forward or been identified.
Police were attacked for sitting on the vision for 12 years, despite showing it to 700 people, but Mr Byleveld said the Macro Task Force had experienced investigators, who had `obviously considered all the options and made a decision determined on the environment at the time'.
"There's always an opportunity that by releasing certain parts of information that you might damage the investigation or derail it in a certain way," he said.
"They had concerns about the footage. They had concerns about public perception of this person if it was released.
"The decisions they undertook at the time with the knowledge they had were valid."
He said Perth was a relatively small city 12 years ago, there were too many stories floating around at the time and people used to get the wrong idea through mis-information.
"Security (surrounding the investigation) had to be tight. It only took a whisper in the wrong ear and all of a sudden media reports about the wrong person, the wrong place the wrong situation arose," Mr Byleveld said.
The footage was initially released to Crime Investigation Australia for an episode on the Claremont killings that aired on Foxtel last night.
"It's never too later to release this sort of information...never to late to put this information out.
"We still have a very live investigation. We have three victims, we have three victim's families who are very traumatised and our purpose is to resolve this crime."
The public servant who has been under suspicion for many years had not been ruled out of the investigation, he said.
Other people were also a focus of the inquiry and there may be further releases of vision as a review of the investigation continues.
"It's never been a narrow investigation, its been a very broad one," Mr Byleveld said.
He also said there were sightings of Ciara Glennon just after midnight Saturday March 15, 1997, talking to someone in a light coloured vehicle.
Sarah Spiers was waiting for a taxi at 2am on January 27, 1996, the headlights of another car were seen approaching her in Stirling Road.
That vehicle has never been identified.
"It's very frustrating. If you talk to any of the 80 or 90 people who have worked on Macro they are all still deeply passionate about resolving this crime.
"Every investigator would love to be the one that makes the phone calls to the victims families and says we've just charged the person responsible for your daughters crime.
"That's what we hold in our heart that we can do that."
Sarah Spiers, 18, is believed to have been the Claremont serial killer's first victim after she went missing on January 27, 1996. Her body has never been found.
Jane Rimmer, 23, was killed in early June of the same year, her body was discovered in bushland at Wellard, south of Perth, in August 1996.
Ciara Glennon, 27, was the last known victim and disappeared in March 1997. Her body was found north of Perth in bush off Pipidinny Road, Eglinton.

PerthNow (29-8-2008)
Nick Taylor

Video Released in Serial Killer Probe

West Australian police are asking the public to help identify the mystery man seen talking to Claremont serial killer victim Jane Rimmer outside the hotel where she disappeared.
PerthNow reports police investigating the Claremont killings today released the controversial security footage that they have sat on for 12 years. In the security footage, the man is seen briefly, but only from behind.
Police are now asking the public to help identify a man who approached Ms Rimmer, 23, outside the Continental Hotel, in Claremont, on June 6, 1996, the night she disappeared. Her body was discovered in bushland at Wellard, south of Perth, in August 1996.
Detective Superintendent Jeff Byleveld said the footage had been retained by police until now for "investigative reasons" and also because of its poor quality, the fact it only shows the man from behind and because the tonal quality of the black and white footage.
"The existence of the footage has never been a secret, with it shown to 700 people during the exhaustive investigations to identify people inside and outside the hotel that evening," Supt Byleveld said.
"Police have been able to identify every one of the people in this vision, except for this man.
"He is seen approaching Jane at one minute after midnight on the morning of Sunday June 9, 1996, there appears to be some interaction between Jane and this man, in the next vision 28 seconds later Jane is still there, but the man cannot be seen.
"We would like this man, or any person, who recognises this man to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, so that the Special Crime Squad can complete this line of investigation."
The security footage also includes details of two vehicles that interested police. One was seen near Sarah Spiers, 18, shortly before she went missing and the other near Ciara Glennon as she waited for a taxi. Ms Spiers is believed to have been the Claremond killer's first victim after she went missing on January 27, 1996. Her body has never been found.
Ms Glennon, 27, was the last known victim and disappeared in March 1997. Her body was found north of Perth in bush off Pipidinny Road, Eglinton.
The decision to withhold the vision was slammed by civilian forensic expert Robin Napper and politicians.

The Sunday Times (28-8-2008)
Nick Taylor

New Bid To Nail Claremont Killer

The Claremont serial killer task force is to be trebled as it sets about investigating what senior police describe as "unresolved matters" in the nine-year-old mystery.
The Macro task force, regarded as the biggest serial killer investigation in Australia, has dwindled from a peak of about 120 officers to a handful of detectives in recent times. But its strength is to be boosted as it pursues recommendations from a review of the case late last year.
An international panel of experts headed by South Australian Det-Supt Paul Schramm, who has worked on more than 100 murder inquiries, flagged the possibility that the case of the abduction-murders of Sarah Spiers, Ciara Glennon and Jane Rimmer was capable of being solved.
Supt Schramm said: "What the future holds none of us can see, but certainly we do believe that by careful, incremental gathering of further information there are still opportunities for this to be successfully resolved."
Several months before the panel began work, then police commissioner Barry Matthews indicated that the task force would have to be disbanded.
But yesterday, Deputy Commissioner Chris Dawson said that while the case was unresolved and had avenues of inquiry the task force had a "job to do".
"This has got permanency in terms of the structure we are putting in place," he said. "Quite frankly we have set our jaw and our resolve and we are going to keep going. I'm not prepared to make a decision to park the thing while we've got unresolved matters of inquiry."
Mr Dawson would not say what those matters were.
"I've got absolutely no intention of giving the direction we will target," he said. "I'm not going into details about the unresolved matters of the inquiry but there is sufficient to say, 'Look, we need to follow these things through'."
The Schramm review was the eleventh time the investigation had been under independent scrutiny.
In 1998, The West Australian revealed that a Cottesloe public servant was the prime suspect in the case. In April last year, Macro task force detectives raided two Cottesloe properties linked to the man. Then in August and September they raided properties owned by former Claremont mayor Peter Weygers, including one linked to his friend, taxi-driver Stephen Ross.

The West Australian (2-9-2005)
Luke Morfesse

New Squad Takes Over Macro Case

The Claremont serial killer task force will be disbanded and replaced with a new squad with a permanent brief to investigate the abduction-murders and other long-term unsolved crimes.
In a major boost to the almost decade-long inquiry, more than a dozen detectives backed by other specialist officers will work in a city high-rise building, away from the Curtin House base of other crime investigation units.
Deputy Commissioner Chris Dawson said yesterday that work done by the Macro task force, which was formed after the killer's second attack, would be taken on by the new Special Crime Squad.
"It is not now a task force. Task forces have an air of temporary work until a specific job is done," he said.
"The Macro task force and the work they have done has been exhaustive and of an extremely high level. We are consolidating it into a permanent squad which will have ongoing responsibility for both Macro and other matters."
Mr Dawson said the new squad would continue to carry out recommendations made by an international panel of experts that reviewed the case last year.
It was led by South Australian Det-Supt Paul Schramm, who flagged the possibility that the abduction-murders of Sarah Spiers, Ciara Glennon and Jane Rimmer in 1996 could still be solved.
Supt Schramm said after the panel's detailed examination of the case he was confident the murders had been thoroughly and comprehensively investigated.
But the panel was still able to make recommendations about additional avenues of inquiry in a secret report to WA police.
In the months leading up to the Schramm review, detectives raided two Cottesloe properties linked to a Cottesloe man identified as a prime suspect in the case. Four months later they raided properties owned by former Claremont mayor Peter Weygers, including one linked to his friend, taxi-driver Stephen Ross.
Mr Dawson said that no new leads, breakthroughs or people of interest had been uncovered by detectives working on the review panel's recommendations.
"There's (still) avenues of inquiry and while those avenues of inquiry are open we will continue to pursue them like we do, quite frankly, with every unsolved homicide," he said.
"It's a perception that we need to correct that unsolved serious crimes are closed. They're not. They remain under the spotlight and under our notice and if anything additional causes us to take further action then of course we'll do that."

http://www.thewest.com.au (2-9-2005)
Luke Morfesse

Top SA Detective To Hunt Serial Killer

A HIGH-profile South Australian police officer will head a review of Perth's Claremont serial killer case.
West Australian Police Commissioner Barry Matthews announced the review on his second- last day in the job yesterday.
He said leading overseas and interstate experts would be brought to Perth in November for an independent external review of the unsolved case.
The review panel will be headed by Superintendent Paul Schramm, who led the investigation into the Snowtown murders.
"Supt Schramm is one of the most experienced homicide investigators in Australia," Mr Matthews said.
"He has been a detective for 30 years and focused upon homicide investigation for 10 years," Other members of the panel include a serving member of the New South Wales police service and two UK- based experts.
All four will spend several weeks in Perth and be Joined by other independent experts during the review. The Claremont investigation involves the death of two young women and the disappearance of a third, all from the same suburb, in the 1990s. Sarah Spiers, 18, is believed to have been the first victim of the serial killer She disappeared after leaving a Claremont nightclub in 3998 and has not been seen since. The body of Jane Rimmer, 23, was found in bush south of Perth in August, 1996 after she disappeared from Claremont in June that year.
The third victim, Ciara Glennon, 27, was found murdered on April 3, 1997, - 19 days after she was last seen in Claremont.
A 46- year- old Cottesloe public servant is the prime suspect in the case.
The investigation into the murders - a taskforce named Macro - has been WA's longest running and most expensive.
Other members of the panel named yesterday are:
DETECTIVE Inspector Russell Oxford, of NSW police, an experienced homicide investigator who in 1997 was awarded the Michael O'Brien Memorial Scholarship and travelled to the US to work with the FBI and police departments.
DAVID Barclay, head of physical evidence section of the National Crime and Operations Faculty in the UK.
MALCOLM Boots, also a forensic expert from the National Crime and Operations Faculty with experience in homicide reviews.

Adelaide Advertiser (18-6-2004)
Vivienne Oakley

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Paul Anthony Clare

Claremont serial murders (Wikipedia)

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