The accused Claremont serial killer's romantic life was unravelling when he allegedly murdered three women but an earlier conviction for assault was triggered by a "curt comment", a Perth court has heard.
Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, is charged with the murders of Ciara Glennon, 27, Jane Rimmer, 23, and 18-year-old Sarah Spiers between 1996 and 1997, as well as two sexual offences in 1988 and 1995.
Edwards' allegedly killed the women during a messy relationship break-up in which his partner betrayed him, but stopped when he met someone new, a hearing to determine admissibility of propensity evidence for the trial heard on Tuesday.
"He doesn't take it out on the women he's involved with, he takes it out on strangers," prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo told the WA Supreme Court.
Edwards was a Telstra employee in 1990 when he attacked a Hollywood Hospital social worker from behind, covering her mouth and attempting to drag her into nearby toilets, but she broke free.
Cable ties were found in his pocket, he apologised and was sentenced to two years probation.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich said Edwards "took exception to a somewhat curt comment", which triggered that attack.
Two years earlier, Edwards was living with his parents when women's garments, including a silk kimono, were stolen from a clothesline in what Ms Barbagallo called the "Huntingdale prowler" offences.
Several crimes were committed or attempted within a 1km radius of his home by a man wearing a nightgown or similar, and Edwards' prints were recovered from a sliding door at one property.
One crime, for which he is charged, allegedly involved breaking into the home of a sleeping 18-year-old woman, unplugging the telephone and attacking her, leaving behind a kimono and black stockings.
Edwards is also charged over an attack on a 17-year-old girl who in 1995 was grabbed from behind, pushed to the ground, had her hands bound with a cord and fabric forced into her mouth.
She was taken to Karrakatta cemetery and sexually assaulted in "various ways", Ms Barbagallo said.
The girl made her way to nearby Hollywood Hospital where a security guard allegedly saw a Telstra vehicle drive past.
There were allegedly other incidents between 1995 and 1997 where a man in a Telstra vehicle offered women lifts, telling one he was "looking for damsels in distress" and tried to kiss her.
Ms Barbagallo said the night Ms Spiers disappeared, "blood curdling screams" were heard but it is unknown how she died or where she was dumped.
A high-pitched scream was also heard when Ms Rimmer vanished.
A Telstra-issued knife was located near where her body was recovered and police found two similar knives in Edwards' toolbox when he was arrested in 2016.
Her cause of death was undetermined due to decomposition, but she had a "defect" around her neck.
The cause of Ms Glennon 's death was consistent with her neck being cut.
The night she disappeared, Edwards was supposed to be with friends but only arrived the following day and lied about trying to reconcile with his ex-partner, Ms Barbagallo said.
Fibres found on Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon allegedly matched a vehicle Edwards had access to.
Ms Barbagallo said Edwards could not explain his DNA on the kimono, the cemetery victim or Ms Glennon's fingernails.
She said Edwards had a tendency to wear women's underwear, and kept "violent erotica stories" and depraved pornographic images and movies.
Mr Yovich claimed the prowling tendency had not been established and the "distinctive feature" in the Huntingdale incidents, involving women's clothing, was absent from other conduct.
Australian Associated Press