A dad who shot dead his son and daughter in a horrific murder suicide displayed a ‘World’s Greatest Daddy’ shirt before turning the gun on himself.
John Edwards, 67, killed his daughter Jennifer Edwards, 13, and his son Jack, 15, in West Pennant Hills, Sydney’s north-west, on July 5, 2018.
The children were later found ‘crumpled together’ under Jack’s bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds.
Edwards killed himself at his rented home near Normanhurst on the night of the murders.
But before taking his own life, Edwards hung the black ‘World’s Greatest Daddy’ shirt on a chest of drawers at the end of his bed, NCA NewsWire reported.
Jack (pictured left) and Jennifer’s (pictured right) body were found under his bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds
Police officers found the display and Edwards’ lifeless body sprawled across his bed.
‘I believe this T-shirt had been strategically placed on the side of the chest of drawers so it could be seen when entering the bedroom,’ Detective Sergeant Tara Phillips wrote in her statement.
Six months after the murder suicide, the children’s mother Olga took her own life.
An inquest into the deaths began on Monday and the NSW Coroners Court heard Edwards had ‘a propensity for domestic violence’, including physical and psychological assaults against the women of his life and his many children.
One ex-partner said he was never physically violent but ‘controlling’ while another said he was ‘unbalanced and a narcissist’, the lead investigator told the inquest.
Including the two he murdered, Edwards had 10 children to seven partners.
Edwards (pictured) killed himself at his rented home near Normanhurst on the night of the murders. But before taking his own life, Edwards hung the black ‘World’s Greatest Daddy’ shirt on a chest of drawers at the end of his bed
Edwards was awarded licences to shoot rifles and pistols in June 2017 after NSW Firearms Registry staff used a police database report that had failed to pick up several matters related to domestic violence.
Over the next year, he legally acquired five weapons including the Glock 17A 9mm semi-automatic pistol he used to shoot dead Jennifer and Jack.
Edwards hired a car and stalked his daughter on her way home from school in order 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.’
A bloodstained piece of paper with Jennifer’s train timetable and movements was found in Edwards’ pocket during his post-mortem examination.
Edwards, 67, turned the gun on himself at a rented home near Normanhurst, northern Sydney (pictured)
It is not known how Edwards initially tracked down his daughter’s movements before following her home as he burned his mobile phone and tablet before his death.
Based on his history and the note, the lead police investigator suspects the financial planner could have hired private investigators to find the family.
‘(The note) appeared to be a timetable of Jennifer’s movements to and from school,’ Detective Sergeant Tara Phillips told the NSW Coroners Court on Monday.
Edwards had previously used a private investigator to track his most recent ex-wife and the children’s mother, Olga, the officer said.
Six months after the murder suicide, the children’s mother Olga (pictured) took her own life
Having tracked down and spoken to numerous ex-partners of Edwards and many of his children, the detective painted a picture of a controlling, narcissistic, self-centred and calculating man.
‘He had a history of exerting control over the women in his life and his children. He had a propensity for domestic violence,’ she said.
When Edwards’ 15-year marriage to Olga broke down in 2016, he ‘became consumed with maintaining a relationship with Jack and Jennifer’ and blamed Olga for the children’s estrangement, the detective said.
After the children’s murder, Olga detailed to Det Sgt Phillips how Edwards had over the years physically abused the children over minor things, such as touching his phone or CD collection.
But exactly how he found the family in West Pennant Hills may never be known.
‘He’d set fire to all his electronics, so we were unable to extract (anything),’ Det Sgt Phillips said.
The inquest, which is expected to run until September 25, will closely examine how Edwards was able to legally acquire the handguns he used to kill his children and then himself.
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