Claremont victim 'stunned by blow to head'

Angie Raphael
Ciara Glennon may have been stunned by a blow to her head, the Claremont killings trial has heard

Ciara Glennon suffered a blow to the back of her head that may have "momentarily stunned" her or rendered her semi-conscious before she was murdered, the Claremont serial killings trial has heard.

Confronting details about the post-mortem examinations of solicitor Ms Glennon, 27, and childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, were temporarily suppressed on Thursday in the WA Supreme Court trial of ex-Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards.

But on Friday, Justice Stephen Hall tweaked the suppression order, allowing the media to report on the majority of the statements by lead forensic pathologist Karin Margolius and the testimonies of two other doctors.

Dr Margolius, who died in 2010, said in her statements and reports that Ms Glennon had a depressed fracture at the back of her skull.

"The defect is more likely to be a sharp force injury, but I cannot exclude that it is a blunt force injury," she said.

"This defect may have caused obtunding - a blunting of the senses - momentarily stunning her or rendering her semi-conscious."

Ms Glennon's other injuries included a 21cm cut to her neck, a wound to her right forearm and two torn fingernails.

"The cause of death was consistent with neck injury," Dr Margolius said.

Ms Glennon's decomposing body was found in Eglinton bushland in April 1997, almost three weeks after she vanished following a night out with friends in Claremont.

Ms Rimmer's naked and decomposing body was found in Wellard bushland in August 1996, almost two months after she disappeared from the same entertainment strip.

"Several items from the throat structure were missing and these include the hyoid and thyroid bones," Dr Margolius said.

"Without these items being located, it will be impossible to tell if the deceased had been strangled."

Dr Margolius concluded: "Whilst my report lists the cause of death as unascertainable, I cannot exclude the possibility that it was a result of a neck injury."

Forensic pathologist Clive Cooke testified the cuts on Ms Rimmer's forearm were "classic" defensive injuries.

Edwards, 51, is also accused of murdering 18-year-old secretary Sarah Spiers, whose body has never been found, in 1996.

While Edwards denies committing the three murders, he 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 allege Edwards' DNA was found under Mr Glennon's fingernails, and there is also fibre evidence linking him to the crimes, but his defence team argues contamination may be an issue.

Justice Hall previously asked prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo whether the state alleged the murders were sexually motivated.

"We're not necessarily nailing our colours to the wall on that," she replied at the time.

"Certainly evidence of it in terms of Ms Rimmer, as in her body being found naked."

The current suppression order bans the publication of findings related to intimate body areas.