National

Spiers missed Claremont friends by minutes

By AAP Newswire

Sarah Spiers' friends called it a night less than 10 minutes after the 18-year-old phoned for a taxi and vanished, the Claremont serial killings trial has heard.

Ex-Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, denies murdering Ms Spiers, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1996 and 1997.

Emma Wates, 42, testified on Thursday her group of friends ended up at Club Bayview on Australia Day in 1996 and Ms Spiers said she was going home around 1.30am, despite being encouraged to stay.

"She spoke to me clearly. She wasn't upset. She just was going to leave," Ms Wates told the Western Australia Supreme Court.

"She seemed normal. There was nothing unusual."

The witness wept when she said that was the last time she saw her.

Ms Wates left with a friend at 2.15am, with a bank record showing an ATM was accessed at 2.17am.

Ms Spiers called for a taxi at 2.06am, but when it arrived she was gone.

Ms Wates said her friend was wearing beige shorts, a light-coloured shirt and black jacket around her waist.

Mark Laidman, 58, was in a car at a red light with two friends including Alec Pannall, who previously testified, when he saw a woman wearing a similar outfit who glanced at them.

"I did notice a girl leaning up against a bollard," Mr Laidman said.

"She was just tall enough that she could almost sit on it."

He noticed a vehicle behind them but it did not follow them through the red light.

Christine Hams, the mother of one of Ms Spiers' close friends, said the secretary was "happy, chatty, normal Sarah" the last time she saw her for lunch hours earlier.

Ms Hams told her she was welcome to stay at the family's Mosman Park house after her night out.

"She smiled and said yes, she knew she was welcome," Ms Hams said.

"As far as I'm aware, no one attended the house."

The taxi call shows Ms Spiers planned to go to Mosman Park, where several people heard screams between 2.30am and 3am.

One of them was Judith Borrett, 80, who described three very high-pitched screams that did not last long as "desperate, blood-curdling, terrible ... something that you'd never forget".

She remained in her room.

"I'm sorry I didn't do anything," Ms Borrett said.

"I wish I had gone outside but I didn't ... it was all quiet again."

Jesse-Maree Munro, 53, also described "really, really blood-curdling" screams, saying the first made her sit bolt upright.

"My heart was pounding."

She woke her then-fiance Wayne Stewart, 49, and as he ran to their balcony to investigate, another scream followed "fairly straight away".

Mr Stewart said it came from nearby and sounded as if the woman was being hurt or scared.

"It was very loud and very distressing," he said.

He heard two doors slam "very hard" nearby and saw a light-coloured wagon parked on the wrong side of the road with its tail lights on near a phone box.

Ms Munro gave a similar account.

Earlier on Thursday, Katrina Jones, 63, told the court she caught a lift in December 1995 from a polite and friendly man who said he worked for Telecom.

She noticed a log book, identification card and telecommunications equipment inside his unmarked white van.

When she asked why he was out at 2.30am, he replied: "I was just heading to Cottesloe to pick up damsels in distress like yourself."

He grabbed her arm and tried to kiss her after she got out.

Ms Jones became agitated under cross examination when she conceded she added the Telecom/Telstra detail to her statement in 2017 and clarified the next year she "may have been influenced" by a newspaper article.