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President of gun club reveals chilling behaviour of father who executed his estranged teenagers

The inquest into the deaths of John Edwards (pictured) and his two teenagers, Jack and Jennifer, heard retired financial planner demanded to join a pistol club

The inquest into the deaths of John Edwards (pictured) and his two teenagers, Jack and Jennifer, heard retired financial planner demanded to join a pistol club

Sydney father John Edwards began his quest to own guns by demanding membership to an invite-only pistol club, an inquest has been told.

The inquest into the deaths of Edwards and the two children he murdered in July 2018 was told on Monday officials from two clubs stationed at Hornsby range all formed poor opinions of the recently retired financial planner in December 2016.

‘Many times over, he stated … “I have to become a member of Ku-Ring-Gai Pistol Club”,’ president Neville ‘Drew’ Thornton said.

‘He was very demanding.’

State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan is examining the lead-up to Edwards’ execution-style murders of his estranged teenagers, Jack and Jennifer Edwards, including the method in which the 67-year-old acquired weapons.

Despite a long history of domestic violence, Edwards was licensed to operate and possess rifles and pistols when he shot his kids.

KPC secretary David Dean said new members were usually excited about learning about the sport and the club processes but he became concerned Edwards was trying to ‘railroad’ them in the summer of 2016/17.

‘He was just consumed with getting through the process, he wasn’t interested in the process (or) the club,’ he said.

Mr Dean couldn’t recall another time when someone had tried to concurrently join both KPC and Hornsby RSL Rifle Club, which used the same range.

In an email to the club committee, Mr Dean described Edwards as a ‘right PITA’ (pain in the arse) and recommended the club refuse him membership.

Ku-Ring-Gai Pistol Club president Neville 'Drew' Thornton (pictured) told the inquest Edwards was 'very demanding' and stated many times he 'had to be a member'

Ku-Ring-Gai Pistol Club president Neville ‘Drew’ Thornton (pictured) told the inquest Edwards was ‘very demanding’ and stated many times he ‘had to be a member’

After that refusal occurred in March 2017, Edwards arrived at the range, tracked the club president down and became ‘extremely aggressive’, the inquest heard.

”Why have you not allowed me to join your club?’ and so on,’ Mr Thornton said of Edwards’ exclamations.

‘It was just ridiculously stupid how he carried on.’

KPC took the unusual step of advising Hornsby RSL officials of the membership refusal, the inquest heard.

But the rifle club had already found Edwards was not a good fit for them and ‘a bit pushy’ about signing up.

Then-president Doug Caple also said he’d considered it ‘a bit strange’ how Edwards – on four occasions – stood alone at the back of the rifle range and engaged with no one.

‘New people would mingle a bit better than what he did,’ he said.

‘He just stood back and observed.’

After that refusal occurred in March 2017, Edwards arrived at the range, tracked the club president down and became 'extremely aggressive' (stock picture)

After that refusal occurred in March 2017, Edwards arrived at the range, tracked the club president down and became ‘extremely aggressive’ (stock picture)

State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan is examining the lead-up to Edwards' execution-style murders of his estranged teenagers, Jack and Jennifer Edwards (pictured), including the method in which the 67-year-old acquired weapons

State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan is examining the lead-up to Edwards' execution-style murders of his teenagers, Jack (pictured) and Jennifer Edwards

State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan is examining the lead-up to Edwards’ execution-style murders of his estranged teenagers, Jack and Jennifer Edwards (pictured), including the method in which the 67-year-old acquired weapons

Current club captain Heather Smith said she’d immediately thought Edwards wouldn’t fit in with other members.

But Hornsby RSL never had to decide on Edwards’ membership application as he was never seen after April 2017, when the club ticked off on his rifle training.

News of the rejected membership and adverse opinions never made it to St Marys Pistol Club, which Edwards approached in order to finish his pistol training.

The inquest heard the clubs weren’t obliged to share concerns with each other.

Both KPC officials said they didn’t believe he met the threshold of posing a threat to ‘public safety’ that would have forced them to report him to the Firearms Registry.

Ms Smith supported a proposal to allow clubs to notify the registry and other clubs of concerns, provided it wouldn’t lead to blacklisting of people who had personality conflicts with officials.

The inquest is expected to hear from St Marys Pistol Club officials on Tuesday.

KPC secretary David Dean (pictured) told the inquest Edwards was 'consumed' with getting through the process to join the club and became concerned the retired financial planner was trying to 'railroad' the club

KPC secretary David Dean (pictured) told the inquest Edwards was ‘consumed’ with getting through the process to join the club and became concerned the retired financial planner was trying to ‘railroad’ the club

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