The woman struggled and banged on her bedroom wall screaming for her father.
As her parents woke and rushed down the hallway, Edwards fled, dropping a semen-stained silk kimono on his way out.
Two years later, he attacked a social worker as she sat at her desk at Hollywood Hospital.
After asking the woman where the toilets were, Edwards approached her from behind, grabbed her and dragged her off her chair while simultaneously shoving a cloth in her mouth.
The woman fought, her shoe falling off in the scuffle as she managed to kick Edwards and break free.
Edwards, who was at the hospital upgrading the phone lines, apologised profusely to the terrified woman before she ran away to get help.
He was convicted of common assault and ordered to complete a sexual offender program, but never lost his job. He was a Telstra apprentice at the time and his father was a long-time employee of the telco giant.
Five years later, as his marriage began to crumble, Edwards abducted and brutally raped a 17-year-old girl from Claremont as she walked home alone after a night out with friends at Club Bayview.
The teenager was walking along a darkened path in a park near the entertainment precinct as Edwards lay in wait.
He attacked the girl from behind, bound her hands and feet with cord and carried her in his arms to his van nearby, where he gagged and hooded her.
“I remember that [the cloth] was pushed quite deep in my mouth because it made me cough and it was sort of blocking the passage of my throat,” the victim later told police.
Edwards drove her to Karrakatta cemetery and raped her twice, never saying a word.
The teenager, frozen by fear, kept her eyes closed and never looked at him.
When he was finished, she pretended to be unconscious and he threw her half-naked and bound body into a bush and left.
A year later Sarah Spiers, 18, vanished from Claremont after a night out at Club Bayview.
Her body has never been found and Edwards was acquitted of her murder.
Five months later, Jane Rimmer was abducted.
Alone, the 23-year-old was last seen on CCTV outside the Continental Hotel around midnight, checking her watch as she looked up and down the road, as if looking for a taxi.
Edwards either offered Ms Rimmer a lift or ambushed her in his car as she began to walk away from the busy night district, which had minimal CCTV at the time.
He drove her to Wellard, 40 kilometres south of Perth, and bundled her into the back of his station wagon with a plan to sexually assault her.
Nearby residents woke to a woman shouting, “Let me out of here”. Ms Rimmer tried to fight off Edwards before he took her life by cutting her throat.
He then dumped her naked body in bushland and concealed it with branches.
Nine months went by when Edwards prowled the streets offering women lifts home, but never struck.
By this time, undercover police operations were underway and a covert camera had been set up on Bay View Terrace, in the heart of Claremont.
People were terrified at the idea there was a serial killer on the loose. Young women were told not to walk alone or catch taxis by themselves.
Ciara Glennon, 27, had just returned to Perth from an overseas trip and was not in Western Australia when Ms Spiers or Ms Rimmer went missing.
Her parents warned her about the dangers of Claremont, but on March 14, 1997, the young lawyer left her friends at the Continental Hotel and walked down Stirling Highway looking for a taxi.
As she walked from one side of the road to the other, appearing to try and improve her chances of hailing one of the scarcely available cabs in the area, Edwards approached her in his Telstra station wagon.
As he pulled up, she chatted with him through the passenger window. He either offered her a lift, or ambushed her and forced her into the car further down the road.
He subdued her and put her into the footwell before driving her to a remote area of bushland in Eglinton, 40 kilometres north of Perth.
The third woman to be taken off the streets of Claremont in 15 months, Ms Glennon fought back and managed to scratch Edwards before he viciously cut her throat and left her body face down, clothed, and covered in branches.
A decade later, forensic scientists recovered Edwards’ DNA from underneath her partly torn left thumbnail.
The mystery profile was a match with Edwards’ 1995 unsolved rape case. Detectives had his DNA, but did not know who he was.
Then, in 2016 during a seemingly routine cold case review of an unsolved 1988 sex attack in Huntingdale, investigators decided to test a kimono left at the crime scene for DNA.
The result? Whoever committed the sex attack was the suspected Claremont serial killer.
The case was reopened and solved within weeks after fingerprints linked to the original Huntingdale case file were re-run through the police database and matched Edwards’, which had been on the system since his arrest in 1990 for assaulting a social worker.
Police covertly followed Edwards and got a sample of his DNA from a Sprite bottle he discarded while at the movies with his adult step-daughter.
The DNA profile was a match to the profile found underneath Ms Glennon’s fingernail, and a few days later police swooped.
During his arrest, Edwards appeared bewildered when the accusations of murder and rape were put to him.
“What the f—? … You’ve got to be joking”, he said.
“All this stuff you’ve accused me of, I’m not involved in any of it.”
Three years later, on the eve of his murder trial, he confessed to the sex attack and rape amid overwhelming DNA evidence.
The plea opened the door for Edwards to mount a defence that his DNA – already in the lab on the rape exhibits – somehow contaminated Ms Glennon’s fingernail clipping exhibits.
That theory proved weak, with items from the two cases having never been stored near one another, or tested within a 14-month period of one another.
To this day, Edwards denies any involvement in the murders and is yet to shed any light on the two crimes he confessed to on the eve of his trial.
Heather McNeill is a senior journalist at WAtoday.