A murderous father who shot dead his two children before taking his own life stalked his wife and was banned from her yoga class for ‘looking around the room when everyone had their legs spread out’.
John Edwards killed his daughter Jennifer Edwards, 13, and his son Jack, 15, before turning the gun on himself in West Pennant Hills in Sydney’s west on July 5, 2018.
The 67-year-old’s wife Olga, 36, took her own life six months after the murder her children.
During Friday’s inquest, it was revealed that Edwards stalked Olga and began attending her yoga studio during their messy divorce in January 2017.
Olga had attended classes at Bikram Yoga North West Sydney for five years before her husband began, seemingly taking the opportunity to ogle at women.
John Edwards (left), 67, stalked his wife Olga (right), 36, and perved on other women at her yoga classes before being banned from the studio. Just over a year later, he killed his children Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, before turning the gun on himself
Olga attended classes at Bikram Yoga North West Sydney (pictured) for five years before her husband began. Yoga teacher Oliver Campbell said Edwards would ‘look around the room when everyone had their legs spread out’, prompting him to ban the 67-year-old from the class
Yoga teacher Oliver Campbell told the inquest he noticed Edwards would look around the room during stretches where people faced down with their legs apart.
‘It sort of felt like he wasn’t there for yoga,’ Mr Campbell said, according to NCA Newswire.
‘He did his weird thing when he looked around the room when everyone had their legs spread out.’
Edwards attended a number of classes in January before he and Olga eventually ended up in the same morning class on February 8, 2017.
‘It is so clear in my mind exactly what happened that morning because it is the most odd class I have ever taken at 6am,’ Mr Campbell said.
Once Olga realised her husband was also attending, she did not participate in the class when it began.
Mr Campbell noticed the 36-year-old wasn’t joining in and went over to check on her, leading her to say she had to leave because of ‘my ex’.
Not realising that Edwards was her estranged husband, Mr Campell thought she said ‘my neck’ and said she was free to leave if she was injured.
Olga then left, which is when Mr Campbell once again noticed looking around the room during a compromising stretch.
After the class, Mr Campbell told Edwards not to come back, and he never saw the father-of-two again.
Jack (pictured left) and Jennifer’s (pictured right) body were found under his bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds
After the class, Olga called Mr Campbell and explained she left the class because Edwards was her husband and they were in the middle of divorce proceedings.
The mother-of-two reported the incident to constable Rowan Kingdon at Hornsby Police Station after the class.
Mr Kingdon has since been medically discharged from the police force but spoke at the inquest on Friday.
He said he thought Olga was angry that her husband was attending the class, rather than being scared for her safety.
The constable also called Edwards, who lied, saying that he attended the class with Olga before their divorce.
Mr Kingdon concluded that no further investigation was needed after running a check on Olga but forgetting to do so for Edwards.
If he had checked Edwards’ name, he would have discovered that Edwards was previously accused of stalking.
He also misrecorded Olga’s complaint so it would not have shown up in any future searches for ‘John Edwards’
He admitted if he knew Edwards was lying and had been banned from the yoga studio that day, it would ‘have sparked a red flag, a proper red flag’.
‘It would have completely changed it, if I had verified that he had been dishonest,’ Mr Kingdon said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘In hindsight perhaps a different approach would have been warranted but at the time that’s what I did.’
Olga (pictured) left the yoga class once she realised her husband was attending. She later reported the incident to police, who concluded no further investigation was required
Just over a year later, Edwards would go on to kill his teenage children Jack and Jennifer before fatally shooting himself with Olga taking her own life months later.
The yoga class revelation comes after it was revealed that Edwards bought a puppy and deliberately abused it to lure his animal-loving daughter to his house.
Both teenagers had repeatedly told a court psychologist that they did not want to see their father prior to their deaths.
They claimed he was violent toward Jack and cruel toward Jennifer, but Sydney family court lawyer, Debbie Morton said there were doubts over the claims.
Lawyers questioned whether their mother Olga had ‘influenced’ the children into saying negative things about their father.
In one example of his cruelty, the court heard John Edwards purchased a puppy for Jennifer, who was an avid animal lover.
But he would deliberately mistreated the pup in order to force Jennifer into coming to his house and visiting him – even if it was just to check on her dog.
Edwards, 67, turned the gun on himself at a rented home near Normanhurst, northern Sydney (pictured)
An inquest is being held into all four deaths at at the New South Wales Coroner’s Court sitting at Lidcombe.
On Thursday, Ms Morton confirmed she was aware ‘of all the allegations’ which had been made about the treatment of the children while they were in Edwards’ care.
‘Jennifer did not want to see or speak to her father and Jack separately had the position that he did not want to see or speak to John,’ she said, according to The Australian.
‘I know that was the position.’
Ms Morton also confirmed she was aware Edwards had an adult daughter who had applied for an AVO against him to protect herself and her children, but considered it could have been because he was ‘an annoyance’.
She could not recall whether she was aware that Edwards had several other children who did not want to see him.
Olga reported her husband had assaulted Jack and Jennifer three times in 2015.
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 Brooke Cooper took down details of the complaint in December 2016, and accepted each of those incidents could constitute an assault but she had recorded Olga’s report as ‘no offence detected’.
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.
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’.
Edwards, 67, shot dead Jack and Jennifer at West Pennant Hills on July 5, 2018, before killing himself. Pictured: Police out the front of the home the day after their deaths
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 the children in,’ she said.
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 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 commenced 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’.
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 her West Pennant Hills home
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 house of the late Olga Edwards in West Pennant Hills after her death, just six months after her children were murdered
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.
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.
The inquiry is continuing.
Jack, 15, and Jennifer Edwards, 13, were found ‘crumpled together’ under Jack’s desk after Edwards stormed the West Pennant Hills house (pictured)