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Cops dismissed domestic violence claims against dad who later killed his kids

John Edwards, 67, killed his children Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, before turning the gun on himself

John Edwards, 67, killed his children Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, before turning the gun on himself

A policewoman who took an assault report from a mother whose estranged husband later shot dead their two children had never read the force’s standard operating procedures on domestic violence.

Senior Constable Brooke Cooper had been teaching children traffic safety for nine years when Olag Edwards made a complaint about her husband at Hornsby police station in December 2016.

She had only been working in general duties on the front counter that day because it was school holidays.

Olga had reported her husband John Edwards had assaulted their children Jack and Jennifer three times the previous year.

She alleged Edwards had hit and kicked Jack in October 2015 when he was playing with his father’s iPod and hit him on another occasion when he was playing with a stack of CDs.

Olga also claimed Edwards had slapped Jennifer in the face when she would not go to sleep.

Senior Constable Cooper accepted each of those incidents could constitute an assault but she had recorded Olga’s report as ‘no offence detected’.

Jack (pictured) and Jennifer's body were found under his bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds

Edwards stalked Jennifer on her way home from school to learn his children's new address

Jack (pictured left) and Jennifer’s (pictured right) body were found under his bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds 

With hindsight, the allegation should have been classified as ‘assault – domestic violence related’, she said on Wednesday.

Senior Constable Cooper conceded she was unfamiliar with some of the processes reporting domestic violence allegations.

‘I’ve been so out of the loop with general duties practices,’ she said.

Edwards, 67, shot dead Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, at West Pennant Hills on July 5, 2018, before killing himself.

Six months after the children’s murders their 36-year-old mother took her own life.

An inquest is being held into all four deaths at at the New South Wales Coroner’s Court sitting at Lidcombe.

Their devastated mother Olga took her own life six months after the tragic murder suicide

Their devastated mother Olga took her own life six months after the tragic murder suicide 

Under questioning by counsel assisting the coroner, Christopher Maxwell, Senior Constable Cooper said she had never read the police standard operating procedures for dealing with domestic violence complaints.

Asked if she was familiar with the document, which was avaliable on the police intranet, she said, ‘Not really’.

‘I knew there would have been a policy somewhere there,’ she said.

‘There’s standard operating procedures for just about anything.’

Olga had separated from Edwards in March 2016, taking the children with her.

In December that year she had told Senior Constable Cooper that her children did not want to be with their father ‘and this makes him angry’.

Senior Constable Cooper said she was aware the most dangerous time for domestic violence victims was after an assault had been disclosed to police.

She was also aware a victim leaving the marital home should be considered as a relevant factor when assessing the risk of future violence.

Senior Constable Cooper, who had been police officer for 18 years, said she had not spoken to Edwards or the children after Olga made her report.

‘I did ask her to bring thchildren in,’ she said.

Edwards, 67, turned the gun on himself at a rented home near Normanhurst, northern Sydney (pictured)

Edwards, 67, turned the gun on himself at a rented home near Normanhurst, northern Sydney (pictured) 

Senior Constable Cooper also said she had not read old reports of domestic violence by Edwards against former partners on the police computer system.

The inquest has previously heard the financial planner had slapped Jennifer in the street while the family were on holiday in Paris.

He then chased Jack down an alleyway and hit him so aggressively that members of the public were forced to intervene.

Olga had commennced custody proceedings in in the Family Court in April 2016.

She described the violence inflicted upon her children in an affidavit, revealing Jack slept with a cricket bat in his room to defend himself and his sister against their father.

David Brown, a principal at the law firm where Olga worked as a solicitor, has told the inquest she was ‘very, very bright’.

Olga had shared details of her deteriorating marriage with Mr Brown and expressed concerns her violent husband was turning his behaviour towards their children.

When describing Edwards, Mr Brown said: ‘He was something of a bully … He was a man who burst into tempers and I think he drank a lot.’








Olga had been sleeping in a separate room with the children following ‘serious physical abuse’ against Jack.

Mr Brown detailed one instance Olga told him about where Edwards and Jack had a confrontation that resulted in the father pushing his son to the ground and kicking him.

‘There were so many instances … where the father had altercations with his son because the son had shown no respect for his father, with good reason I should say,’ Mr Brown said.

Despite Olga detailing the scope of Edwards’ violent behaviour towards his children, he was still allowed to see them as part of a limited contact order by the court.

In her affidavit, she said she had ‘a tremendous fear I would come home and find my child dead because John could never control his temper’.

Edwards had ten children to seven partners.

The inquest heard on Monday heard Edwards was awarded licences to own rifles and pistols in June 2017.

The licence was granted after NSW Firearms Registry staff used a police database report that failed to pick up several matters related to domestic violence. The inquest also heard the registry didn’t know Ku-Ring-Gai Pistol Club refused Edwards membership in early 2017.

Jack, 15, and Jennifer Edwards, 13, were found 'crumpled together' under Jack's desk after Edwards stormed the West Pennant Hills house (pictured)

Jack, 15, and Jennifer Edwards, 13, were found ‘crumpled together’ under Jack’s desk after Edwards stormed the West Pennant Hills house (pictured)

Over the next year, Edwards legally acquired five weapons including the Glock 17A 9mm semi-automatic pistol he used to shoot dead Jennifer and Jack in the boy’s bedroom.

Edwards hired a car and stalked his daughter on her way home from school to learn their new address before he followed or chased his daughter inside.

Neighbour Bruce Wilson heard five shots over about a minute and approached the home, knowing ‘someone is shooting the children’.

He eye-balled Edwards as the 68-year-old ‘half skipped’ down the home’s front stairs.

‘I said “is everything OK, what have you done?”,’ Mr Wilson told the inquest.

‘He didn’t say anything, he just walked towards me.

‘He was in no hurry, he didn’t rush at all. Everything was methodical and well-thought-out.’

The children were later found ‘crumpled together’ under Jack’s bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds. Edwards killed himself at his Normanhurst home the night of the murders.

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