Family Shootings Inquest to Open in Sydney

September 6, 2020 Updated: September 6, 2020

A coroner will hear of the final moments of two Sydney siblings fatally shot by their 68-year-old father when an inquest into the deaths opens on Sept 7.

Jennifer Edwards, 13, and her brother Jack, 15, were shot dead in their West Pennant Hills home by their estranged father on July 5, 2018.

John Ian Edwards, 68, then returned to his Normanhurst home and took his own life.

His actions shocked the nation, prompting politicians and activist groups to launch reviews of firearms and domestic violence legislation.

NSW Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan on Monday morning will open the inquest into the deaths, examining among other things the financial planner’s ability to legally acquire five rifles and pistols in 18 months.

Described as “kind, clever, strong”, the children’s devastated mother, Olga Edwards, took her life in December 2018.

“Her kids were everything to her,” friend Olga Burykina told AAP.

Staff from the NSW Firearms Registry, a wing of the NSW Police Force, are expected to be scrutinised about the permit scheme that allowed Edwards to get his licence.

Shooters, Farmers and Fishers MP Robert Borsak, a long-time critic of the registry’s efficiency, said he hoped the coroner got to the bottom of “the failings” of its management.

“I hope the true facts come out and that proper, fair, honest regulation and disclosure will prevail in the future,” he told AAP.

“Police should not be running the registry, they should be administering the law.”

Police declined to comment on the inquest.

“As the matter is subject to a coronial inquest, it is not appropriate to comment at this time,” a spokeswoman told AAP on Saturday.

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Luke Costin in Sydney