Two teenage children shot dead by their own father inside their Sydney home spent their final moments huddled together, hiding in a bedroom, before the man stormed the home and opened fire.
Fifteen-year-old Jack and 13-year-old Jennifer were killed in a bedroom at their West Pennant Hills home about 5.20pm on Thursday.
About 12 hours later their father John Edwards was found dead in his own home at Normanhurst. Police believe the 68-year-old took his own life soon after the shooting.
Detectives are trying to piece together exactly what happened inside the house before the father shot his two children dead in a “planned and premeditated” attack, but police have revealed the teenagers feared for their lives.
It is believed Mr Edwards hired a car to stalk his children after school, whom he knew would be home alone, so they wouldn’t recognise him when he pulled up outside the Hull Road home.
The teens opened the door to Mr Edwards at 5.20pm, who was carrying two handguns. Police say he planed the brutal attack knowing his ex-wife Olga, 36, was yet to arrive home from work.
The children ran in terror and tried to hide, but their father hunted the pair down and found them.
“They were trying to hide in a bedroom and were huddled together when he opened fire,” a senior police officer told the Daily Telegraph. “What a selfish coward.”
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Police were aware of Mr Edwards over past matters, but he had no recent issues with the law, Acting Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said.
Two “quite powerful” handguns that were registered in the father’s name sometime this year and used to kill the children were found at the Normanhurst home, Mr McFadden added. A number of other guns owned by Mr Edwards were also found.
Mr McFadden said the mother, who arrived at the house shortly after the shooting, was treated by paramedics for severe shock.
Ms Edwards, a solicitor at Brown and Partners Solicitors in Woolwich, was taken into the care of friends and police.
Mr Edwards, described as a “recluse” by a neighbour, was a financial planner and volunteered with the NSW Rural Fire Service, Lions Club and Pennant Hills Junior AFL Club, according to his LinkedIn page.
Juliette Hackett, who lives near Mr Edwards’ home, said she didn’t know the family well but the teenagers “had their challenges”.
“I feel very sad that John felt that there was no alternative than the horrific thing he did,” she said.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual or domestic abuse, don’t suffer in silence, call the National sexual assault, domestic and family violence helpline 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 any time of day or night.