Edwards (pictured) killed himself at his rented home near Normanhurst on the night of the murders.
Shocking details about the violent history of an evil father who shot dead two of his children before turning the gun on himself have been revealed.
John Edwards, 67, killed his daughter Jennifer Edwards, 13, and his son Jack, 15, in West Pennant Hills in Sydney’s north-west on July 5, 2018 in a double murder-suicide that shocked Australia.
Edwards returned to his rented home in nearby Normanhurst and took his own life.
His estranged wife and the children’s mother Olga tragically died by suicide five months later.
An inquest into the teens’ deaths began at the NSW Coroners Court last week, where disturbing details about their father’s history as a violent, controlling narcissist with six previous partners was exposed.
The court heard Edwards had ‘a propensity for domestic violence’, including physical and psychological assaults against the women in his life and his children.
One ex-partner said he was never physically violent but ‘controlling’ – and another said he was ‘unbalanced and a narcissist’, the lead investigator told the inquest.
While the women’s names have been suppressed by the court, details of his shocking behaviour towards his traumatised victims have come to light.
The shocking history of John Edwards before he gunned down his two youngest children in cold blood
Jack (pictured left) and Jennifer’s (pictured right) body were found under his bedroom desk with multiple gunshot wounds
Edwards was just 19 when he married his first wife, then 18, The Australian reported.
After having two children, she ditched Edwards during a family holiday in the US in 1974 after she discovered he was having an affair with another woman.
Edwards returned to Australia with his American mistress, who he later abandoned in a motel with a child and no money.
Six months after the murder-suicide, the children’s mother Olga (pictured) took her own life
His next partner suffered a miscarriage after Edwards hurled a bottle of orange cordial at her.
She eventually fled and applied for an apprehended violence order after Edwards threw a rolling pin at her.
Edwards then impregnated another woman, but ditched her before the child was born.
He later held her captive in his home and pinned her to the bed before she managed to flee. She went to the police, who arrested Edwards outside her home.
A fifth partner was so frightened of Edwards, she changed her name and fled to Queensland.
A sixth woman told police she slept alone on their wedding night after she copped a scolding from her new husband.
She finally left him in 2000 and fled to a woman’s shelter after she was forced to give birth alone when Edwards refused to take her to hospital as she went into labour.
The woman later made a formal complaint to police about the domestic violence she suffered.
Partner two: John Edwards left his first wife for American mistress who was later abandoned in a motel alone with a child and no money (stock photo)
Partner three: A pregnant partner suffered a miscarriage after Edwards hurled a bottle of cordial at her. She eventually fled after he threw a rolling pin at her (stock image)
His Russian-born estranged wife Olga was just 19, 31 years his junior, when the pair met on a dating site in 2001.
It’s understood Olga spent the next 15 years trying to salvage the marriage, despite his belittling comments and his controlling nature; he dictated what clothes she wore.
She eventually fled the violent marriage and the family home, taking their two children and launched divorce proceedings in April 2016.
She told the Family Court that she feared for the safety of the children.
Edwards ‘became consumed with maintaining a relationship with Jack and Jennifer’ and blamed Olga for the children’s estrangement, Detective Sergeant Tara Phillips told the NSW Coroners Court last week.
Partner 4: Edwards then impregnated another woman but ditched her before the child was born. He later found held captive in his home before she managed to flee (stock image)
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.
Including Jennifer and Jack, Edwards had 10 children to seven partners.
He threatened to take two of his previous partners’ lives and gave another rat poison, while his other kids described being beaten with a belt and cattle whip.
Edwards deceitfully told one woman he was in the armed forces and ‘Aboriginal chieftain’, while another described trying to run escape with the kids while he was in the shower.
One of his kids said custody visits were like prison.
Partner 5: A fifth partner was so afraid of Edwards, she changed her name and fled to Queensland (stock image)
Partner 6: A sixth woman whom Edwards married gave birth alone after he refused to take her to hospital to give birth to their baby (stock image)
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.
The teens’ bodies were found with multiple gunshot wounds under a desk in a bedroom where they had been trying to hide from their father.
Followed her children’s deaths, Olga told her GP that she wanted to stay in the house where they were killed because ‘it still had some of Jack and Jenny in it’.
She was found dead in the home in December 2018.
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Lawyer who spoke to slain children before they were killed at the hands of their evil dad faces inquest
The lawyer appointed to represent the best interests of Sydney’s Edwards children in the Family Court denies she was obliged to explicitly tell a judge 13-year-old Jennifer wanted the court to prevent her father contacting her.
Jennifer Edwards told independent children’s lawyer Debbie Morton she felt uncomfortable with her father knowing anything about her but that wasn’t mentioned in the February 2018 hearing where final custody arrangements were made.
In July 2018, John Edwards hired a car, stalked his estranged daughter on her way home and then shot dead her and her brother Jack in a bedroom of their West Pennant Hills home.
Edwards then suicided at his Normanhurst home. The children’s devastated mother, Olga Edwards, took her life five months later.
In evidence unable to be published until Monday, Ms Morton told the Edwards inquest she didn’t raise Jennifer’s wishes for a no-time order in the Family Court in February 2018.
She explained the other parties had already agreed to final orders that didn’t grant Edwards any contact.
‘The mother was happy with them,’ she told the inquest on Thursday.
Unlike the orders the Family Court made, a no-contact order would have explicitly required Edwards to not contact his daughter, the inquest was told.
Counsel assisting Kate Richardson SC suggested it was beholden on the independent children’s lawyer (ICL) – tasked to advocate for the best interests and wishes of children in family law matters – to explicitly mention Jennifer’s wishes.
‘Not in this circumstance, I don’t think,’ Ms Morton replied.
The family lawyer said she’d raised the no-time order with Jennifer but judges and magistrates had previously told her not to disclose a child’s actual wish in court.
ICL guidelines state the lawyer does not take instructions from the child but can involve the child in decision-making.
The ICL is, however, required to ensure the court is fully informed of the child’s views, in an admissible form where possible.
Ms Morton was also questioned over a visitation order raised in an interim hearing that would have Edwards picking his son up and driving him to school each morning.
She conceded that ‘in hindsight, maybe’ she should have realised the order would have required Olga Edwards to disclose her address.
‘If it was obvious to me, I probably wouldn’t have put it in,’ she said.
Ms Morton was also taken to task over her submission in an interim hearing that there was ‘scant independent evidence’ to support Olga’s allegations of Edwards being violent towards the children.
She conceded she must have known at that time of the case notes of Jack’s psychologist which detailed specifics of Jack being kicked, abused and assaulted, and how Edwards’ previous children had taken out restraining orders.
Ms Morton said her interview of the children in December 2016 hadn’t elicited allegations of violence.
‘If the child said to me ‘our father is violent and he’s beating us’, I would not have gone into court and said ‘We can have a couple of hours and a lunch’,’ the lawyer said.
The inquest continues.
Source: Australian Associated Press