Julie Leanne CUTLER
Julie Leanne CUTLER
'Police decoy used in killer hunt sting'
Police hunting for the Claremont serial killer used a policewoman as a decoy, according to a report in a Sydney magazine.
The sting operation went wrong after the under-cover officer had been picked up by Cottesloe man Lance Williams and asked to be driven to Mosman Park, the report says.
Police then surrounded the car and took the driver in for questioning.
The report was written after a months-long investigation by ABC Radio presenter Liam Bartlett and published in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph magazine last weekend.
"Only the surveillance team knows if one of their members panicked and they're not admitting to anything," Mr Bartlett wrote.
Mr Williams denies he had anything to do with the killings and says police are looking at the wrong person.
He says he picked up the woman as a good Samaritan.
He is one of hundreds of people who have been questioned, but no charges have been laid.
Police were keeping Mr Williams, a 45-year-old public servant, under 24-hour surveillance.
In his report, Mr Bartlett makes a series of assertions, many of which have never been aired publicly, about the three Claremont murders.
He wrote that police have told the father of a fourth missing woman, 22-year-old Julie Cutler, that his daughter was probably the first victim of the Claremont killer.
Ms Cutler, a university student from Fremantle, vanished after leaving a staff function at the Sheraton Hotel in Perth at 9pm one night in 1988.
Her car was found in the surf near the groyne at Cottesloe Beach two days later. Her body has never been found.
The first girl to disappear from Claremont, Sarah Spiers, vanished almost exactly seven years ago in 1996.
The report also says that police found no offender's DNA on the bodies of the two women who have been found, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.
The bodies were exposed to the elements for too long.
The report says that certain items of clothing remain missing from the murder scenes of both the women whose bodies have been found, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.
It says police are convinced both women were killed close to where they were abducted, and on the same nights that they were abducted.
They were not murdered where they were found.
The report says Mr Williams is in his seventh month of stress leave from his government job.
He is living with his parents in Eric Street, Cottesloe, has suffered several bouts of depression and has had an extended stay in hospital.
Other sources say that police have spent more than $2 million investigating Mr Williams.
Trevor Rimmer, of Shenton Park, the father of Jane, is quoted as saying that it would be less worrying for his family if the police did not appear to have all their eggs in one basket.
He says he would like to see a more open approach.
His comments tie in with those of overseas investigators of serial killings, who say that in similar cases it is common for investigators to develop tunnel vision.
One overseas investigator has told the POST that that the geographic area where serial killings occur is not necessarily fixed.
It is common for serial killers to switch their activities to other states and even other countries when one location becomes too hot.
The overseas investigator told the POST that there was a high possibility that the Claremont murderer had been killing for many years before and was still operating.
It was likely he was the worst serial killer Australia had seen.
"He is highly organised, very, very clever and has his methods of entrapping and killing women down to a fine art," he said.
It was likely he had some sort of security or military training.
"I believe that many other women who are missing in WA or interstate are the work of the Claremont killer," he says.
He said that it was a myth that the same serial killers used the same methods once they had developed a technique.
"Western Australia has a notorious example of this, Eric Cooke."
Eric Edgar Cooke, who was hanged for murder in 1964, attacked 20 people, killing eight.
He used many different methods - attacking them in their beds with knives, strangling, shooting and running them down with stolen cars.
Many women have gone missing in WA in the past two decades, including another from Claremont.
Sarah McMahon (20) was last seen leaving the reticulation shop where she worked in Stirling Highway, Claremont, on November 8, 2000.
The white Ford Meteor she was driving was found in the carpark of Swan Districts Hospital some days later.