A dad who murdered his two children placed a T-shirt reading “World’s greatest daddy” where police would easily find it, an inquest heard.
In a twisted final act, John Edwards hung the shirt on a chest of drawers at the foot of his bed, where he was later found dead after killing himself at his home in Sydney, Australia.
Police discovered the 67-year-old’s body when they arrived to arrest him for fatally shooting his daughter Jennifer, 13, and son Jack, 15, at their mother’s home in July 2018.
Edwards’ ex-wife Olga, who took her own life six months after the murder-suicide, had feared her children would be killed by their father and she would one day come home and find their bodies.
Five months before the murders, a court granted her full custody of the children. Edwards – who fathered 10 children with seven women – was not meant to know where they were living.
At the inquest, a police officer described finding the T-shirt near Edwards’ body.
“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, news.com.au reported.
Armed with a Glock semi-automatic handgun, Edwards lay in wait for more than an hour at a train station until he spotted Jennifer returning home from school and followed her.
He chased her into her mother’s home, where he fired 14 shots at his children, whose bodies were found crumpled under Jack’s desk.
A neighbour who heard gunshots confronted Edwards and asked “what have you done?” as the killer left the home. Edwards didn’t respond.
Police have never determined how Edwards tracked down his ex-wife and children. It is thought he hired a private investigator to find them.
A bloodstained piece of paper with Jennifer’s train timetable and movements printed on it was found in his pocket after he killed himself.
He was driving around in a rental car that his ex-wife and children wouldn’t recognise, the inquest heard.
After the murder-suicide, grief-stricken Olga, a solicitor, continued to live in the home where her daughter and son were murdered.
The 37-year-old, who moved from Russia to marry Edwards when she was 19, took her own life in December 2018.
An inquest into all four deaths began last Monday, hearing distressing details about the killings and the psychological and physical abuse Edwards had inflicted on his family and former partners.
Allegations of violence or stalking had been reported to police, and three interim and one final apprehended violence orders had been issued against him.
One ex-partner was so scared of him she changed her name and moved away.
His lone criminal conviction was for assault and malicious damage in 1969.
Still, he was granted a gun licence in 2017.
The inquest has heard that police had made several errors in recording Olga’s complaints against her violent ex, and one complaint about being stalked was dismissed.
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