‘Now I wish I had killed him’
A WOMAN who fought off the Claremont Serial Killer has told for the first time how she survived - and that she wishes she had killed the "coward".
Liz Kirkby also indicated why she was targeted, as a young single mum of two who had just moved in to her house, by vile sex murderer Bradley Edwards.
And she said she only discovered her attacker's terrifying identity years after the incident - but wished she had been spared that traumatic revelation because "ignorance would have been bliss".
Mrs Kirkby, formerly known as Liz Mead, tells her story this week in explosive new Sky News documentary Catching The Claremont Killer: The Untold Story, which goes deep into the case that has captivated Australia for decades.
Edwards, 52, was sentenced to life in the WA Supreme Court just before Christmas for the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, in 1996 and 1997, plus two earlier sex attacks.
He is suspected of being behind many more prowler-style underwear thefts and assaults on women in the Perth suburb of Huntingdale in the late 1980s.
In Catching The Claremont Killer, Mrs Kirkby said one night in 1988 she had just got out of the shower at her Huntingdale home, when she saw a disguised intruder in the toilet.
"He had a woman's nightie and what I think were undies over his over his head, but his eyes were exposed," she said.
"At first, I thought it was a joke. Your mind doesn't quite catch up for a second, but he pushed me against the wall."
Convinced she was going to be raped, Mrs Kirkby fought hard despite her brutally strong assailant's hail of punches.
"I did fight. He got off me when I kneed him in the groin and then he ran through the back door, jumped the back fence and he was gone.
"I rang the police; well I went to the door with a knife, actually, because by that stage I thought 'If he comes back, I'm going to kill him'. And in hindsight, I wish I had. But he didn't come back, obviously, because he's a coward. And then I called the police."
Mrs Kirkby told Sky reporter Steve Pennells she always thought her masked attacker was a "weird" Telstra employee who had recently fitted her new phone line - and in doing so, selected her as a victim.
"I remember saying to my dad that the Telstra guy was weird and that he was asking me questions and I didn't feel comfortable with him being in the house."
Edwards, who worked as a Telstra engineer, was never charged over that incident but it was part of the initial circumstantial case against him.
The investigation into the Claremont killings is Australia's longest-running and most expensive case - and is not over yet, because police believe there may be further victims.
Alongside the Sky documentary, a new HarperCollins book, Stalking Claremont, by journalist Bret Christian, has just been released, amid a wave of interest in the case.
In addition to the Rimmer and Glennon findings, Edwards pleaded guilty to a rape in 1995 and an indecent assault on another woman in her home in Huntingdale in 1988. But he was acquitted of killing secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, whose remains have never been found.
"The evidence of his propensity to kill may make him a likely suspect, or even the probable killer, but it does not exclude the real possibility that some other person killed her," Justice Hall said at the time, noting the lack of forensic evidence.
Mrs Kirkby, who went on marry again and have a third child, only became aware that her assault had been linked to the 1990s killings in Perth's Claremont three decades later, when "the cold case squad rang."
Officers told her they suspected the Huntingdale Prowler was Edwards - a horrifying revelation that, Mrs Kirkby said, "knocked me off my perch."
That her attacker was believed to be the man who graduated from prowling - with Mrs Kirkby as his last Huntingdale victim - to killing is something she says she would rather not have learned.
Mrs Kirkby has been in the news once before, in 2015, when her daughter Olivia was revealed as the lovechild of deceased WA billionaire Michael Wright.
She said she does not want to be known as the "surviving victim" of the Claremont Killer as it would be disrespectful to those women he did murder.
"When he did what he did, he wasn't Bradley Edwards, Claremont's serial killer. He was Bradley Edwards, The Huntingdale Prowler. It was different, and we survived being assaulted. A survivor, but not a surviving victim."
Catching The Claremont Killer: The Untold Story on Sky News at 5pm and 8pm, Feb 4
Originally published as 'Now I wish I had killed him'