Mother of slain children found dead
AUSTRALIA is in mourning after a mother was found dead in her Sydney home five months after her estranged husband executed their two children in the same house before turning the gun on himself.
Police were recently unable to reach Olga Edwards, 36, so went to her home on Hull Road in Sydney's West Pennant Hills to conduct a welfare check this morning, and made the discovery.
News.com.au understands her death is not being treated as suspicious.
A police source today told The Daily Telegraph Ms Edwards had "been struggling lately" and was dreading Christmas without her family.
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"Since losing her children she has been in and out of hospital and police have been in constant contact with her and became worried when they didn't hear from her," the source said.
One neighbour, who didn't provide her name, told news.com.au she didn't know Ms Edwards but noticed her car was always parked out the front of her home - as if she rarely left - after her children were murdered.
On July 5 this year, John Edwards, 68, entered his estranged wife's house and shot dead their two children, Jack Edwards, 15, and Jennifer Edwards, 13, in a bedroom, about 5.30pm.
Edwards, a retired financial planner, had tracked down the family and hired a car to stalk the children so they would not recognise him when he pulled up outside their home.
He timed the chilling attack just before the end of school term when he knew they would be alone and before their mother and north shore solicitor, Ms Edwards, returned home from work.
Ms Edwards arrived home to the "horrific scene" at about 6.30pm and collapsed from "severe shock". She was understood to be in the care of friends in the days following the tragedy.
OUTPOURING OF GRIEF
The nation is reeling after the "devastating" end to this appalling family tragedy, with an outpouring of grief and shock emerging across social media.
Peter Lloyd tweeted that it was "unfathomable the suffering she had to endure", while Bede Kelleher said the story was "utterly tragic" and Alex Anastassiou called the story "shattering".
Lanie P said she had pulled over on a country road to cry.
She was not the only one who said they were in tears at the "indescribable heartbreak".
On the Hornsby Advocate's Facebook page, many expressed deep empathy for the pain the grieving mother had been going through. "So heartbreaking. May they forever Rest In Peace," posted Leanne Mobbs.
"RIP Olga," wrote Stef Annie Knight. "My heart breaks for you and your children."
Nicola Kropach called the loss of her children an "unimaginable tragedy", and Rikky Clark said it was "unutterably sad... every living day would have been a torture".
Caitlin Marchant said she could not "comprehend the pain that she would have been in" and Carlie Roberts observed that Christmas would have been too much for the grieving mum.
"May this poor mother be at peace now forever with her children," said Colleen Doherty.
"Everyday would have been such a struggle. RIP Olga you are with your children now," added Lisa Turner.
Many raised the spectre of domestic violence in Australia. Troy McEwan noted that the death would not be counted as family violence but should be, and Melbourne lawyer Cath Devine asked what politicians were doing about the problem.
"I want to express the profound effect the news about Olga Edwards has had on me but I can find no adequate words," wrote author Jane Caro.
Edwards lived alone with his dog at the Normanhurst home he bought four years ago. The gunman's body was found in a Normanhurst home, about 5km from the scene of the initial killings, about 12 hours after his children were found dead.
Police said the murders were "targeted … premeditated and planned" and related to domestic violence amid a two-year custody battle between Edwards and his wife.
Soon after the tragedy, the first pictures of the two children were released to media, at the request of their grieving mother, as she returned home for the first time since the tragic event.
Ms Edwards was seen being escorted by detectives into her rented house where her daughter and son were murdered.
Online fundraising pages were later set up to raise money for Russian-born Ms Edwards and her mother, who lives in Russia and flew to Sydney to support her daughter. Her mother returned to Russia earlier this week after Ms Edwards reportedly promised to leave the house after Christmas and join her permanently.
"Olga's world was completely shattered on 5 July when her ex husband murdered her two teenage children Jennifer 13 and Jack 15 in their own home," a My Cause fundraiser read.
"As Olga was originally from Russia, her only family in Australia was the nurturing and loving family unit she created for her two children in the Sydney suburb of West Pennant Hills.
"Olga's life has been irredeemably changed by an unspeakable crime and we as her community want to assist her in her onward journey by removing the burden of financial pressures and to enable her to focus on her healing.
"More importantly, it provides us all with the ability to show that we care as a community and hopefully that will be a small balm to Olga's soul."
A GoFundMe fundraiser revealed Ms Edwards was "currently in a great distress and will possibly be out of work due to shock & bereavement for some time". The fundraisers had collectively amassed almost $45,000 from more than 650 donors.
ANTI-SOCIAL AND ABUSIVE
It later emerged that Edwards had left a series of letters for relatives, which he handed to a friend days before he committed the double murder then took his own life but it wasn't immediately clear what was written inside.
The murdered teens were part of Edwards' second family after he split from his first wife and two children in 2000 or 2001.
Jack was a student at Pennant Hills High School and Jennifer attended Gosford High selective school.
Edwards had once been the subject to an AVO, there were no apprehended violence orders against him at the present time, thus allowing him to obtain two firearms legally.
He was described as a loner, who was anti-social and abusive to his children.
NSW Police Acting Region Commander Brett McFadden previously told reporters the couple had been in a long-term relationship. However, that had broken down in recent years and Edwards lived separately from the rest of the family at the Normanhurst address where he died.
Edwards - who described himself online as a "certified financial planner" - had owned the Normanhurst house since 2014. News.com.au understands Edwards was self-employed and had been aligned with AMP from 1995 until 2016.
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#letwomenlive #letwomenlive I can’t handle this anymore #OlgaEdwards she must be remembered. Her kids must be remembered. Do we have to stop the nation? Please don’t let it go by again. #ViolenceAgainstWomen #MenToo do something— Yvonne szwedyc (@Yvonne51Yvonne) December 12, 2018
Just catching up on the incredibly sad news of Olga Edwards’ tragic death. Grief is too painful a journey to travel alone. We need to offer support and love to people that are alone at Christmas, and especially to those who are grieving. Please reach out and be there for others..— Stella Bella (@StellaSpoons) December 12, 2018
Such sad news hearing that Olga Edwards took her own life today.— DJ (@_CharleeGirl_) December 12, 2018
Unable to bear the pain of living without her beautiful children after her husband murdered them and took them from her.....
Fly high with your babies forever beautiful angel 💔
This horrible story about Olga Edwards is utterly tragic and says all you need to know about the repercussions from the actions of cowardly, selfish, violent men.— Bede Kelleher (@Bedeapk) December 12, 2018