Sarah Ellen SPIERS

Sarah Ellen SPIERS

Missing/Murder


AGE:  DOB 1977
HEIGHT:  
BUILD:  
EYES:  Green
HAIR:  Blonde
COMPLEXION:  Fair


 

During the evening of Friday the 26th of January, 1996 (Public holiday) Sarah attended the Ocean Beach Hotel (OBH) with friends. Sarah remained at this location for the next few hours.

At around midnight, Sarah and some of her friends were collected from the OBH by Sarah's sister Amanda as per prior arrangement.

Amanda drove Sarah and her friends to Claremont, where they attended Club Bay View nightclub.

At 1:30 am Sarah told her friends she was leaving and said she was going to catch a taxi. As she was leaving she stopped and spoke to a couple of security guards that were present at the club, one of them Sarah knew quite well and they chatted for several minutes.

Sarah left the club and what we know to happen next is that at 2:06 am Sarah telephoned Swan Taxis from a phone box on Stirling Road near the intersection of Stirling Highway. Sarah requested a taxi collect her from that location and take her to Mosman Park.

After the phone call it is believed Sarah crossed the road and waited at the intersection of Stirling Road and Stirling Highway for the taxi to arrive.

Three young men drove down Stirling Road and stopped at the intersection at the red light. One of the men took notice of a woman who was leaning against a bollard outside BC The Body Club. It is suspected this is Sarah due to the similarities of her description. He also noticed that another car was travelling down the road behind them towards the intersection. The traffic control lights turned green and they moved off turning right on Stirling Highway heading towards Fremantle. As they drove off down the highway, the man noticed the car he had seen travelling behind them hadn't entered the intersection, in fact it hadn't made it to the intersection. He was a little concerned by this and mentioned it to his friends, suggesting they should go back and check on the girl (Sarah) but they agreed it was probably an overreaction, that she would be fine.

At about 9 minutes past 2, three minutes after Sarah called Swan Taxis, the cab that had accepted the job to collect Sarah pulled up at the intersection of Stirling Highway and Stirling Road. The driver looked up the street to the telephone box and did not see any person, he didn't see any one in the street at all.

Since that time Sarah has not been seen.

Sarah was reported missing to the South Perth Police Station on the Monday morning after she had failed to attend a family gathering on the Sunday afternoon and failed to attend her work on that Monday.

 

Reported missing to: Western Australian Police
OFFENCE: Missing/Murder
IR NUMBER: 300806 1200 7372
DATE OF OFFENCE: 30/08/06

 

During the evening of Friday the 26th of January, 1996 (Public holiday) Sarah attended the Ocean Beach Hotel (OBH) with friends. Sarah remained at this location for the next few hours.

At around midnight, Sarah and some of her friends were collected from the OBH by Sarah’s sister Amanda as per prior arrangement.

Amanda drove Sarah and her friends to Claremont, where they attended Club Bay View nightclub.

At 1:30 am Sarah told her friends she was leaving and said she was going to catch a taxi. As she was leaving she stopped and spoke to a couple of security guards that were present at the club, one of them Sarah knew quite well and they chatted for several minutes.

Sarah left the club and what we know to happen next is that at 2:06 am Sarah telephoned Swan Taxis from a phone box on Stirling Road near the intersection of Stirling Highway. Sarah requested a taxi collect her from that location and take her to Mosman Park.

After the phone call it is believed Sarah crossed the road and waited at the intersection of Stirling Road and Stirling Highway for the taxi to arrive.

Three young men drove down Stirling Road and stopped at the intersection at the red light. One of the men took notice of a woman who was leaning against a bollard outside BC The Body Club. It is suspected this is Sarah due to the similarities of her description. He also noticed that another car was travelling down the road behind them towards the intersection. The traffic control lights turned green and they moved off turning right on Stirling Highway heading towards Fremantle. As they drove off down the highway, the man noticed the car he had seen travelling behind them hadn’t entered the intersection, in fact it hadn’t made it to the intersection. He was a little concerned by this and mentioned it to his friends, suggesting they should go back and check on the girl (Sarah) but they agreed it was probably an overreaction, that she would be fine.

At about 9 minutes past 2, three minutes after Sarah called Swan Taxi’s, the cab that had accepted the job to collect Sarah pulled up at the intersection of Stirling Highway and Stirling Road. The driver looked up the street to the telephone box and did not see any person, he didn’t see any one in the street at all.

Since that time Sarah has not been seen.

Sarah was reported missing to the South Perth Police Station on the Monday morning after she had failed to attend a family gathering on the Sunday afternoon and failed to attend her work on that Monday.
 

 

August 2008 - WA Police have released CCTV footage of a man talking to Jane Rimmer shortly before she went missing.

MACRO INQUIRY - Statement by WA Police


In response to media reports, WA Police wishes to emphasise that a Cottesloe public servant, who has been the subject of those reports, has not been eliminated from the Macro investigation as reported by some sections of the media.
The man is considered a priority person of interest to Police and has been so since he came to the attention of investigators. His status has not changed.
WA Police have distanced themselves from the content of last night’s Nine News report, particularly concerning the alleged comments or opinions attributed to the Police.
The Macro inquiry remains an ongoing and active investigation.

Jeff Byleveld
Acting Assistant Commissioner
Specialist Crime Portfolio
27 November, 2008.

400 fake seers drove Sarah’s dad into depression
30th August 2008, 8:00 WST - The West.com.au

RONAN O’CONNELL

Don Spiers. Picture: Lee Griffith   Sarah Spiers

 

 

The father of Claremont serial killer victim Sarah Spiers has described how he fell into chronic depression because of harassment by clairvoyants who demanded money to help find his daughter.
 
Don Spiers detailed his harrowing experience yesterday as police continued to field phone calls from the public after the release on Thursday of security footage of another victim, Jane Rimmer, speaking to an unidentified man moments before she disappeared.
 
Mr Spiers, who has long been reluctant to speak to the media, was candid yesterday about his emotional and mental trauma.
 
He said up to 400 psychics and clairvoyants from across the world had contacted him since Sarah disappeared on January 27, 1996.
 
He said they were offering false information and “looking to make a name for themselves or get money”.
 
He had been so desperate to find his daughter in the first six months after she disappeared that he had listened to the “shysters” and often followed their instructions.
 
“They hounded me to death,” Mr Spiers said.
 
“I’d be getting it every day. It was just an onslaught.
 
“They were sending me to certain locations, just running me around. They were telling me all sorts of things. They’d give me cryptic clues.
 
“They had my emotions on a rollercoaster. You’d be full of hope and you’d be out (searching) and there’d be nothing and then you’d go down (in emotion) again.
 
“I can’t understand why anyone would do this to someone in my situation. Why would they want to make it worse for me?
 
“They probably all wanted to be recognised as being high-profile clairvoyants. They are shysters, there’s no question about it.”
 
He said the relentless approaches from clairvoyants and the false hope they created had led him to have a breakdown late in 1996, when he found himself sitting in an armchair at his home ripping chunks of hair from his scalp.
 
“I would sit in the lounge chair waiting for Sarah to come home and it would be as if someone put a band around my head above my ears and was just tightening it,” Mr Spiers said.“There was just immense pressure in a circle around my head. I was actually sitting there pulling my hair out.”
 
Soon after, he was diagnosed with chronic depression, a condition he battled for about 18 months.
 
He said the situation was made worse in 1997 when he was bashed. His jaw was broken and several teeth shattered at a pub during a family holiday in Exmouth.
 
As he struggled with depression, he continued to fend off clairvoyants and psychics and was even abused over the phone by members of the public.
 
“We had phone calls from people saying we are the perpetrators or saying that we deserve it,” he said.
 
“I’m still vulnerable. I have my down moments but I don’t go back to the depths of before.”
 
Ms Spiers is the only one of three women linked to the serial killer whose body has not been found.
 
Ms Rimmer and Ciara Glennon were abducted on June 9, 1996, and March 14, 1997, respectively.
 
Ms Spiers was with friends at Cottesloe’s Ocean Beach Hotel on January 27, 1996, before her sister dropped them at Club Bay View about 12.15am.
 
About two hours later, Ms Spiers told friends she was going home. She ordered a taxi at 2.06am from a phone booth in Stirling Road, about 300m from the club.
 
When the taxi arrived, she could not be found.
 
Mr Spiers was reluctant to comment on the police handling of the Rimmer footage, which police held for 12 years before releasing it on Thursday morning.
 
He said he did not have any problems with the police investigation into the murders.
 
Despite keeping the footage from the public for so long, police admit they considered it important enough to show to more than 700 people to try to identify the man it shows with Ms Rimmer.
 
News of the Rimmer footage emerged two weeks ago when police revealed that they planned to release it on the same day it was due to be featured in a pay-television documentary, which aired on Thursday night.
 
The footage shows Ms Rimmer standing outside the Continental Hotel in Claremont soon after midnight on the night she was abducted.
 
A man is seen from behind as he enters the bottom of the frame and appears to interact briefly with Ms Rimmer, who turns towards him and smiles.
 
Det-Supt Jeff Byleveld, of the major crime division, said it was not clear whether she knew the man, who was the only person in the video not to be identified by police.
 
Police said yesterday they had up to 100 phone calls from the public since the footage was released.
 
It is understood most of the calls related to the mystery man and his possible identity.

 

'I told police about Sarah'

August 28th 2004


Story by Bret Christian, The Post newspaper, Perth, WA

http://www.postnewspapers.com.au/


The former taxi driver whose house was raided by officers from the Macro task force this week went to police in 1996 with information about Sarah Spiers.

He said he remembered picking her up in his taxi the night before she disappeared, on Australia Day, 1996.

Steven Ross (43), of Irwin Road, Embleton, told the POST this week the police should be looking for a fellow passenger, a man who had shared the taxi with Ms Spiers.  Mr Ross said the man did not appear to know her.  Mr Ross said another woman, also a stranger, had "doubled up" in the cab that night.  Mr Ross said he dropped the second woman in Dalkeith. He said that she had never come forward. He said that after dropping the woman, he had taken the man and Ms Spiers to the Windsor Hotel, in South Perth.  The man had pushed Ms Spiers out of the cab then paid the fare.  "I think he came back to Claremont the next night, found her and killed her," Mr Ross said.  Ms Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon all disappeared on nights out in Claremont in 1996 and 1997.  The bodies of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were found soon after their disappearances.  Sarah Spiers has never been found. Mr Ross, who had been a taxi driver at the time of the disappearances and murders, lives on a property owned by former Claremont mayor, school psychologist and civil rights campaigner Peter Weygers.  Mr Weygers was using Mr Ross's former taxi, a Ford station wagon, when the police arrived at the Embleton property on Wednesday morning.  They impounded and sealed the station wagon and another vehicle, a tray-top truck.  Mr Weygers said Mr Ross used the vehicles in his work as a courier. 

Mr Ross said that in 1996 he had made a statement to two Macro officers in the office of Claremont solicitor Grant Milner.  Mr Milner confirmed this week that he had been present at the Mr Milner confirmed this week that he had been present at the interview.  The Macro officers had been invited to hear Mr Ross's story.  He said his recollection was that Mr Ross had been unsure about which night he had picked up Ms Spiers, and the police had not seemed very interested.  Mr Milner said Mr Ross appeared to be an unsophisicated person, and sincere.  He said he thought Mr Weygers had asked for the interview.  Mr Milner said he had rung the police after their interview with Mr Ross to apologise for wasting their time. 

Police raided Mr Ross's home on Wednesday, armed with a search warrant that listed personal items belonging to the missing women.  Mr Ross said he was not interested in talking to the police unless they released his taxi computer records for late January 1996.  "I've got an alibi, but they won't give it to me," he said.  "Without those records, I don't have an alibi for the time Sarah Spiers disappeared".  "What if they accuse me of it? I know I was working that night., doing radio jobs. The computer records will prove it."  He said he also wanted police to produce the young Dalkeith woman to corroborate his story.  He said he had spoken to Sarah's father Don, many times of his suspicions about his male passenger. Mr Spiers had taken this information to police, he said.  The car he was driving at the time Ciara Glennon was murdered is still available and registered as a taxi, he said. 

There are two dwellings on Mr Weygers' Embleton property.  Mr Weygers said he had bought the house from Mr Ross after Mr Ross got into financial difficulties when he lost his taxi licence.  Mr Weygers said that about four years ago he had put a transportable unit on the back of the block and allowed Mr Ross to live there.  He had completely stripped, renovated and re-painted the front house, which was now rented to a 20-year-old university student.  Police seized the student's car and computer, containing all his university work this week. They sprayed the house with luminol, a toxic chemical which is a presumptive test for blood residue, which is indicated if the luminol glows in the dark.  Police scientists were at the house and the transportable most of the night. They probed the garden and searched both dwellings. Mr Ross said he had picked up Ms Spiers twice in the same night.  The first trip had been from Wellington Street, Mosman Park, to Club Bay View, he said.  He said the second had been from Claremont to South Perth.  He said there had been a mix-up earlier in the night with a call from the same passenger.  He said her name had come on his taxi computer screen and he asked if she was "Spier".  He said she corrected him and said: "Spiers."  He recalled that she had lived in Mill Point Road, South Perth. 

 Mr Weygers told the POST this week he had been driving the ex-taxi station wagon on Wednesday because his own car had broken down.  He said police had told him they were leaving no stone unturned because a review of the Claremont serial killings was due later this year.  He said his student tenant had been traumatised by the police raid.  He said the student had been required to stay inside the house and witness the police search and chemical testing.  Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said the information the police were working on was new intelligence, but dismissed the notion that Macro was moving away from its previous focus on Lance Williams, of Cottesloe.  He said: "I would describe it as an important development, but it is just a response to intelligence."

 

He Who Waits

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Monday, 9 February , 2004 - Australian Story, ABC TV

CAROLINE JONES: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight's story takes us inside Australia's longest-running and most expensive murder investigation. Eight years ago, three young women went missing from the wealthy Perth suburb of Claremont. Two of the girls were found murdered. The body of the third has never been discovered. Now some are suggesting that the subsequent disappearance of other young women from different areas of Perth could possibly be linked, an idea strongly rejected by the Claremont investigators. What's not in dispute is that the heartache and controversy surrounding the Claremont killings has not faded with time. Now pressure is building for a fresh approach.


ROBIN NAPPER – FORENSIC SCIENCE UNIT: People have to realise that serial killers don't walk around with horns sticking out of their head. They look like normal people. They look like your neighbour. But by night, that's when the really evil side comes out and they go off hunting and prowling for victims. And they simply just can't stop. They have to keep on and on. It's like food and water, to us.

So, there is this compulsion to kill and to keep on killing and to get better and better each time that they do it. They can't take victims unless they can actually get close to victims and be friendly and actually lure them into cars or take them away. So, the persona they will present to the world is one of a very friendly - maybe a little bit offbeat, maybe a little bit strange, but nevertheless a non-dangerous person.


BRET CHRISTIAN – EDITOR, POST NEWSPAPERS: Claremont was never looked on as a dangerous place. Claremont's a well-heeled area which has something of an entertainment centre. There's a nightclub and a hotel there. In the mid-1990s, three girls in a fairly short space of time went missing after visiting those nightspots.

Well, it totally traumatised our backyard. The girls had been there probably as kids shopping with their mothers, and then at night they would go there, you know, for fun, to have a few drinks, meet some friends, and suddenly it became a hellhole, somewhere where people disappeared from.


DON SPIERS: Sarah had been at Club Bayview in Claremont with friends of hers. When she left, her friends weren't ready to go, so she left early to make a phone call for a taxi. When the taxi-driver arrived she was not there. It was probably only three minutes after the appointment. Well, initially you like to presume that there's something minor wrong and that, you know, everything will work out - that maybe she's gone with friends somewhere and hasn't been able to return. But we knew that there was something serious wrong because Sarah just simply would not fail to communicate with us under any circumstances. You know, our love was so strong that she wouldn't do that to us, you know?


CAPTION: Sarah Spiers disappeared about 2am on 27th January 1996. She has never been found.


DON SPIEARS: People ask me, "How do you cope?" And you don't "cope" - you learn to preoccupy yourself. I mean, I keep myself so busy that my mind's occupied all the time. I only have to have two or three hours off and I start to, you know, become a bit depressed. My day starts at 5:00 in the morning and I very rarely knock off before 8:00 in the evening. I admit now - I've always sort of probably been accepted as a fairly...fairly strong and rugged sort of a character, but, um, you know, I confess I cried myself to sleep for over 12 months in the initial... in the initial journey. And, you know, I'm not ashamed. Not ashamed of that at all.


CAPTION: On 9th June 1996, four months after Sarah Spiers vanished, Jane Rimmer disappeared in similar circumstances. Believing there was a connection, the next day police set up the MACRO Task Force.


TREVOR RIMMER: The police came round and they told me that, um... .that they'd found Jane's body. And, um... .that was the... the end of the night. That just... Everything broke down. That was just so hard. Because at that time, I guess, we were still hoping against hope, in our hearts... .that she was still alive...even though we knew in our heads that the odds were very much against it.


JENNY RIMMER: You wonder when it happens, "Why was it my daughter that night?" I mean, which is not a very nice thing to say, but you naturally think that. And I think she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You know, it could've been anyone. I just couldn't believe it.


CAPTION: Two months later, Jane Rimmer’s body was found.


POLICE RE-CREATION: On 14 March, just over a week ago, was a night just like this. Ciara Glennon left the hotel that's just behind me and hasn't been seen since. She's the third young woman that this has occurred to in 14 months in this area.


DENIS GLENNON – PRESS CONFERENCE: Only now do I even begin to understand, um, the terrible trauma that the parents of Jane and Sarah went through, and...and the degree of empathy that I have with them now is just enormous. No parent who loves their child, even a child of 28 like Ciara was, can even begin to comprehend the devastating thing that this is in any family.


CAPTION: Nine months later, in march 1997, a third girl, Ciara Glennon went missing from Claremont.


NEWS REPORT: We want to move quickly to see if we can get information while it is fresh in people's minds.
NEWS GRAB: We certainly have fears that there is a serial killer at loose in Perth.
NEWS REPORTER: Police are collecting body specimens from potential suspects.
NEWS GRAB: It wasn't, like, a prostitute or anything - just a normal family girl. It's really quite terrifying.


DET. SGT PAUL COOMBES – MACRO TASK LEADER: The State of Western Australia, I believe, was in a state of shock upon the disappearance of Ciara Glennon. For three people to disappear from relatively safe streets without a trace was very disturbing.

The investigation has continued full-time for over seven years, and that in itself is very unique. It is the biggest ever in this State and in the history of WA policing, and possibly the largest investigation ever conducted in Australia.


DAVID CAPORN – HEAD MACRO TASK FORCE: I think one of the very tangible ways that this crime could be solved is in the tracing of the particularly significant items of jewellery that are missing in relation to this case.


DET. SGT LEE: What I'm showing you now is replicas of the clothing worn by all of the girls on the night of their disappearance, firstly starting with Sarah's clothing. And in particular we'd like to locate a key ring, a sunflower key ring. Um, most notable with Jane's clothing and property is the small bag. And with Ciara's clothing, the most notable is the small brooch.


DAVID CAPRON: Those are the sort of pieces of information that could assist the task force to resolve this matter.


NEWS REPORTER: Amid growing fears the killer would strike again soon, a breakthrough - MACRO Task Force detectives swooping on a suspect at 3 o'clock Sunday morning as he prowled around Claremont streets in his car.


BRET CHRISTIAN: There is a man that the police have been watching from very early on in the investigation, and he appears to be a prime suspect. Vast amounts of resources have gone into watching his every movement, to following him, to surveilling him in all sorts of different ways.


JENNY RIMMER: Well, the only thing I can say is that if he had nothing to do with it, I feel really sorry for him. If they're so confident, I can't understand why he hasn't been charged. There's obviously something lacking after, like, seven years. They still can't put their finger on it, so it's very hard to comprehend.


BRET CHRISTIAN: I think our community's been lulled into a false sense of security by the - sort of the sly nod and the wink that, "Look, we really know who's done this. We've been watching him. "And since we've been watching him there's been no other murders." That's actually wrong. There HAVE been other murders - just not any more in Claremont.


DAVID CAPORN: We can't eliminate the possibility that there is another crime that's been committed that's linked to the Claremont crime, but there is no indication of any significance that we have had a linked one since Ciara Glennon's disappearance and, ultimately, her murder. Certainly, there have been times when the media have led the community to believe that we're only interested in one person. I can assure you that we've looked far and wide, and that as every year goes by, several people are looked at very closely.


JENNY RIMMER: I don't think it'll be solved. I think too much time has gone past. They should have caught the person by now. We know there are other girls that have gone missing, and... .I mean, I haven't heard much about a lot of those other girls.


ROBIN NAPPER: You cannot divorce the three missing girls from Claremont with all the other missing people, because it's unsolved. He's still out there.


CAPTION: At 5pm on November 8 2000, Sarah McMahon left her workplace in Claremont. She said she was going to meet a friend. She vanished without a trace. Ten days later her car was found at the Swan District Hospital.


TRISH MCMAHON: The police said no, it had nothing to do with the Claremont girls missing. We just didn't have to even think about that. It was nothing to do with that at all. But they said because of the circumstances of Sarah's disappearance, that it was highly likely that Sarah had been murdered or that she was dead. I took it the only way I could - I don't believe it. I want facts.

I don't want to have to deal with what the police THINK. I want to be able to have tangible facts. People say, "Well, you know, it's been three years, you know. "You have to get on with your life." How can we? How can we? There are so many unanswered questions.


DON SPIERS: You know, people that perpetrate these sort of activities have no...no grasp of the torment and pain that they put families through. If they could just have a bit of an insight as to what they've done to numerous people... It's not just the families - like, the brothers, sisters and parents - but there's the uncles, the cousins, the aunties, the grandparents.


JENNY RIMMER: But it's also impacted on a lot of our friends and our relations.
We pour three glasses of champagne and an extra one for Janie, and we drink ours and enjoy it, and then we pour hers on the plaque. My girlfriends and I do that quite often, actually, on her birthday - go down there with the Blush champagne, which was her favourite.
We...that makes you feel really good. I think, anyway. Mmm.


DON SPIERS: Our situation's a little bit different to the Glennons' and the Rimmers', because their two girls have been found. We still haven't had either of the questions answered as to where Sarah is and what's actually happened to her. Another big problem that we've had has been clairvoyants. They have been a huge torment to myself and my family in giving cryptic clues as to where Sarah might be. I remember one night early days I was down Salter Point, you know, thrashing around the swampy areas down there at 11 o'clock at night. Um...probably walking around bawling my eyes out and getting nowhere. I mean, a lot of times I've known I shouldn't have listened, but I've always thought that maybe they're using that excuse of being a clairvoyant to give me some honest facts.


TRISH MCMAHON: I've been to Melbourne, put up posters in Melbourne. I've been to Sydney, going out with the soup van. My son's travelled up the coast putting up posters. We've done as much as we can. I don't know what else to do... ..you know? I haven't got the resources. I just haven't got the resources. I...I want to be out there now.


BRET CHRISTIAN: There are about 16 murders or disappearances of women since the late 1980s that remain unsolved in Perth. That's something that hasn't really registered in the public mind - that the 16 disappearances, or a large proportion of those, could be the work of one person. I think MACRO should live up to its name and go and look at the really big picture again and try and connect the dots.


ROBIN NAPPER: The UK police service learnt a very painful lesson in the 1970s with the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. He was found almost by accident. Because of information overload, they'd been chasing other leads down the wrong path and they'd missed him, and lives could have been saved. As a result of that, one of the recommendations was the creation of the National Crime Faculty, who would do independent case reviews, so in the future when complex murder investigations occurred, an independent team would come in and look at the whole case independently to get another perspective on the investigation.

An independent case review will bring in experts from all the different fields - geographic profilers, forensic profilers, different pathologists, different investigators. And the host force gives them the material, then they literally stand back and leave them to it to do the whole review. This Claremont case has now remained unsolved for eight years, and in my view it's almost crying out for a full, comprehensive case review where we get experts from round the world, we look at world's best practice, and we adopt it to this case to try and solve it once and for all.


DAVID CAPORN: I don't know of any other investigation that has been audited and reviewed as much as the MACRO investigation. We have employed people in this State and also people in other parts of Australia with significant homicide investigation background, particularly in relation to serial crime, to conduct comprehensive reviews of the inquiry. Other things that we've done is to employ investigators within this State to review particular streams of evidence, so rather than give them the whole investigation review, we'll give them bite-sized pieces. We've also sent our case file to numerous experts throughout the world - United Kingdom, United States - allowing those people full access to our information to get opinions, views.


ROBIN NAPPER: It's how you look at the word "review". A complex investigation is like a huge jigsaw puzzle, and you cannot solve that by sending one piece of the jigsaw puzzle off to an expert overseas and asking him to tell you what the picture is. The whole point of an independent review is, you get everyone together at the same time and at the same place with the same material. That's the synergy that's solved some of the most complex murders since the Yorkshire Ripper case.


COMMANDER ANDY BAKER – HEAD HOMICIDE: Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. You're so close to it, you may have tunnel vision. So, you need someone to come in and say, "Step back." We have found it's been difficult for other offices, whether in the UK or across the world, to accept others coming in, but the parameters are that this is a search for truth every single time. It may hurt someone, but it's got to be a search for the truth, 'cause the truth will come out.


ROBIN NAPPER: There is so much help in there, like the National Crime Faculty in the UK, who are experts and skilled in these case reviews, who, without a doubt, would come and help in this case review.


DAVE BARCLAY: We're certainly supporting MACRO here at National Crime Faculty, but with some specific things that we have that other people don't, like the injuries database. It would be fair to say that we have not made an effective contribution to MACRO. I've had a go at it. A colleague of mine who's a specialist advisor has had a go too. We just don't have enough information at this distance.


PAUL COOMBES – MACRO TASK FORCE: I believe that the investigation team itself are still very well positioned to be able to resolve the matters. We're very confident in the advances in forensic technology, and that is one of the reasons why we have instigated a forensic review to go back to the beginning and look at what we do hold on this case. We believe that that may, with what we hold, open the case up to enable us to get to a stage where we can prosecute.


DAVE BARCLAY – NATIONAL CRIME FACULTY: Most opportunities arise from lack of thought, not lack of technology. When you look at it, it isn't DNA that solves these crimes. It's basic reassessment of the crime scene by somebody else. Helps a lot.


COMMANDER ANDY BAKER: I think if the Claremont case had been investigated in the UK, I'm not confident that it would've been detected in the UK, either. Now, from what we've seen of what's been done, it's been pretty good and pretty extensive. The thing that HASN'T been done, I think, is this giant workshop where we all get together.

The review system certainly has brought success around locking up the guilty. And more importantly, there's families that have had unanswered questions. At least we've answered some of those questions, and I've actually seen some families and communities, a weight removed from them. And as time goes on, they're a bit more at peace with what happened to their loved one.


DON SPIERS: The police that have been involved with us have been absolutely outstanding in the way that they've conducted themselves and gone out of their way to assist us. You know, even the guys that are still on the case today are always right behind us. I mean, there's no question that doesn't get answered. If I've got a problem, I tell them what it is and they make sure that I've got an answer. They're...they've been remarkable.


PAUL COOMBES: On a personal level, I suppose it is with you the whole time. I've got to know Don, in particular, fairly well and I do feel very close to him. At times it is very frustrating for me not being able to...talk to Don about where Sarah is. And we've spoken a number of times about that day, should and when we do locate Sarah - you know, how we would deal with it.


BRET CHRISTIAN: I think it's more like the Eric Cooke saga than people believe, and I think we'll find out one day that it very closely approximates that dreadful period of serial killings through the same residential area that happened in the 1960s. The women who were killed and injured by Eric Cooke - at the time that they happened, the police made public statements saying, "It's not the work of the same person." Later on, it was discovered that he was using all sorts of different methods of locating and murdering the women. He was running them down with cars, he was stabbing them, he was attacking them with axes and he was shooting people. So, there seems to be a Hollywood myth that serial killers use only one method, they operate in only one area, and that stamps them as that particular killer.


DAVID CAPORN: We can only do everything within our power to complete the investigation and hopefully have a successful resolution. It's not crystal ball stuff. It's not about a 1-hour television program where the crime occurs, you put your resources in and at the end of the show it's solved - it's just not as simple as that. But it's a matter of history that all over the world there will be crimes that are not resolved.


JENNY RIMMER: I don't feel revenge. I don't think that does any good. But I'd just like to know...you know, maybe how it all happened and who it was and...save some other poor young girl from going through the same thing.


DON SPIERS: There's probably not an hour of any day that passes that I don't think of Sarah. Until the day that she is found, there'll never be closure. No matter what the circumstances, I would like to have someone come forward. I don't want clairvoyants, but if there's someone out there that knows where our Sarah is, for them to come forward and tell me...somehow.


CAPTION: W.A. Police say there have been 10 independent reviews of ‘MACRO’, including one in the UK and four in the USA. Later this year after the current forensic review, police will ask overseas experts to conduct another comprehensive review.

Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000

Spiers family pain still strong after 5 years

The Post newspaper, Perth, WA - 27th January 2001

-Emma Chadwick   

http://www.postnewspapers.com.au/

 

Carol Spiers waits every day to hear news of her daughter Sarah, who disappeared without a trace from Claremont five years ago to the day this weekend.

While crowds celebrate the Australia Day weekend, family and friends of Sarah Spiers will carry the burden of five years of waiting to find out more about the disappearance of the beautiful blonde 18-year-old after she left a Claremont nightclub in the early hours of Saturday, January 27, 1996.

Mrs Spiers said this week it was very painful for her to talk about Sarah's disappearance each year on the anniversary of her disappearance.

She said that every day she still hoped to hear the news that her daughter would be found.

She said the pain of not knowing what happened was as strong for her family now as ever.

Mrs Spiers said: "I think about her every day. It makes no difference if it is five years - it is just there every day.

"We still don't know what has happened.

"I hope, of course, to find Sarah."

Mrs Spiers said the family would not speak further to the media because her loss was still so painful.

She said the family was still in regular contact with Macro, the police task force set up to deal with the Claremont serial murders.

Six months after Sarah disappeared it became apparent a serial killer was at work.

The nightmare began for the parents of Jane Rimmer (23) after she went missing after a night out at the same Claremont nightclub on June 8, 1996.

The body of the Wembley woman was found at Wellard, 35km south of Perth, two months after she disappeared.

A golden sunflower key ring was a distinctive item Sarah Spiers was believed to have had with her.

The apparent connection between the two women's disappearances was that they were both blonde and had been walking in Claremont late at night.

Then in March 1997 shock waves again rippled through the community when another blonde woman, Mosman Park lawyer Ciara Glennon (27), disappeared after a night out at the Continental Hotel.

Her body was found in bushland at Eglington, 45km north of Perth, a month later on April 3.

A silver Claddagh (Irish symbol with hands holding a heart) brooch and a jacket were missing from Ciara's body.

Five years on, the number of officers on the Macro task force, formed specially to deal with the Claremont cases, has been cut.

But police still continue to eat, sleep and breathe solely for the case that has shocked and frustrated a nation.

Macro detectives say they have not had any new evidence for the past two years but say they do not intend to wind down investigations or the task force.

Macro acting detective sergeant Chris Stanley said: "We are still continuing our inquiries. Nothing has changed drastically over the past few years.

"Information is still being received and we are continuing to investigate all avenues."

Sgt Stanley said a public servant who became known to police in April 1998 when it was believed he had been offering lifts to women on Stirling Highway in Claremont was still a "significant person of interest" to the investigation.

He said: "We are still working on measures to eliminate that suspect."

Sgt Stanley denied there was any link between the Claremont cases and the disappearance of Sarah McMahon (20), who was last seen leaving her Stirling Highway workplace at 5pm on November 8 last year.

He said they had not seriously looked at a link with the previous Claremont murders and disappearance because Miss McMahon's whereabouts had been confirmed in another area after she had left Claremont.

Miss McMahon's white 1986 Meteor hatch was found by relatives at the Swan Districts Hospital in Middle Swan on Monday, November 20.

She has not accessed her bank accounts and there have been no recent confirmed sightings of Miss McMahon.

Missing persons and major crime officers are investigating her disappearance.

Police have kept quiet on details of the disappearances of all four women.

Ms McMahon's disappearance was initially talked down by police.

In a statement 10 days after her disappearance, Claremont detectives said they believed there were no suspicious circumstances and that her bank accounts had not been accessed, which they said was not unusual for her.

Her parents later rejected reports that their daughter would disappear without telling them where she had gone.

Almost another week later, on November 25, Det-Sgt John Wibberley, officer in charge of major crime, said police were concerned for Miss McMahon's safety and the case had been handed over to the major crimes squad.

The reaction by police to Miss McMahon's disappearance echoes the time taken before an announcement was made concerning Sarah Spiers in 1996.

The first newspaper reports of her disappearance came eight days after Ms Spiers went missing.

Sgt Stanley said little information had been released because it could jeopardise investigations.

He said: "It will be a judgment call while there is work to be done on this investigation.

"So many investigations have failed because too much information has been leaked to the public through the media.

"The media have been a good tool in this case but we are at a point now that we can release no more details," he said.

A $250,000 reward for knowledge leading to the arrest of the Claremont murderer was offered by the state government and has never been claimed.

Anyone with information on any of these crimes can call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Claremont's calendar of tragedy

1994, October: A woman (31) entered a taxi near Club Bayview. A man hiding in the back of the taxi grabbed her. She jumped out and broke her leg.
 

1994, New Year's Day: A man dragged a woman from her car after she left Club Bayview. He attempted to sexually assault her but she fought him off.

1995, February: A girl (17) left Club Bayview - she was tied with electrical cord and left for dead in Karrakatta Cemetery. She had been abducted walking home from the club.

1996 (Jan 27): Sarah Ellen Spiers (18) - never found - first to go missing. She left Club Bayview - last seen in telephone booth, Stirling Highway, Claremont. Police believe a golden sunflower key ring may help find Sarah.

1996 (May 3): Woman (21) indecently assaulted in laneway behind Club Bayview. 2am assailant ripped her skirt off and her head was bashed against a wall six times before she fled.

1996 (Jun 8): Jane Louise Rimmer (23) found murdered in bushland at Wellard, 35km south of Perth, last seen Continental Hotel.

1997 (Mar 14): Ciara Eilish Glennon (27) disappeared from Stirling Highway, Claremont. Had been at the Continental Hotel that night. Body found at Eglinton, 45km north of Perth, on April 3. Missing from the body: a silver Claddagh brooch.

2000 (Nov 8): Sarah McMahon (20) disappeared. Left her Stirling Highway workplace 5pm Friday, disappeared, her car found abandoned at Swan Districts Hospital in Middle Swan.

 

MACRO INQUIRY- CRIME STOPPERS RESPONSE


Crime Stoppers have received in excess of 50 telephones calls in response to yesterday’s appeal for information concerning the Macro investigations into the disappearance of Sarah Spiers and murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon.
The calls received from the public were in response to yesterday's request for information on the identity of the mystery man and vehicles in Claremont at the time of disappearance of Sarah and murders of Jane and Ciara.
All information received has been passed to the Detectives from the Special Crime Squad who are analysing and prioritising the information for investigation.
Police are still seeking information and Crime Stoppers are appealing for calls from the public no matter how insignificant the caller may consider information.
The Special Crime Squad will not be making any comment on the information received
.

 

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