The father had stalked his daughter while she was returning from school before unleashing a rain of bullets on both his children.
Trigger warning: The story contains details of murder that might be distressing to some readers.
When a mother named Olga returned from work one night, she found the unusual sight of the police standing inside her house, waiting to tell her that her two beloved children, Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, were brutally shot to death by their father, John Edwards. Before the children's bodies were found under a desk, young Jack spent the last moments of his life trying to protect his little sister from the rain of bullets that John fired at his two teenage children.
"It is difficult to imagine the pain that Olga felt when she returned home that night,” said State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, as quoted by news.com.au. "To find police at her home and learn that her two children, who she loved dearly, had been killed."
On the day John killed his son and daughter, the estranged father had stalked Jennifer in a rented car as she walked home from school. When Jennifer opened the front door of the family house in Sydney, Australia, she saw the terrifying sight of her abusive father and ran inside the house out of fear. Right behind her was John, chasing the girl as she ran to find her brother, Jack. The two siblings tried to take cover under a desk in Jack's bedroom, and while the boy tried shielding his sister, John unleashed two whole rounds of bullets on his children before leaving their bodies behind.
Within an hour from Jack and Jennifer's murders, their father pointed a gun at himself and ended his life at his own home. After tragically losing both her children, Olga began sleeping in her son's bed, and five months later, the grieving mother ended her own life the same year.
It was reported that Olga decided to end her relationship with the abusive husband and was hiding from him with her children at the family home before the deaths. John's history of abuse was experienced by seven of his ex-partners as well as his 10 children, and even though the authorities were informed about the domestic violence, the man was still allowed to obtain a gun license.
"He made our lives hell," one ex-partner said, as reported by The Australian. Like the rest of his children, both Jack and Jennifer were also terrified of their father for the violence he inflicted on them and their mothers.
"Jack was keeping a cricket bat in his room to protect himself and Jennifer was scared to turn her back on him in case he hit her," said David Brown, in whom Olga once confided about her husband, according to ABC News. In April 2021, almost three years after Jack and Jennifer were murdered by their father on July 5, 2018, the findings of an inquest were revealed in court. And it was found that there were several "errors and omissions" made by police, the firearms registry staff, and the family court in New South Wales in the case of John, who had years of domestic violence accusations against him.
According to The Guardian, Teresa O’Sullivan said in court that the children's deaths were "preventable," and added that they were "a stark reminder of the broader systemic problems that face too many women and children every day."
Cover image: Representational (Source: Getty Images | Photo by Dan Kenyon)