The Sydney father who shot dead his own kids was told to stay away from his estranged wife’s yoga class the year before after the studio owner noticed him perving on women, an inquest has heard.

His wife reported the incident to police, but was met by an officer who felt it was “tit-for-tat” complaint.

John Edwards murdered his children Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, and then took his own life on July 5, 2018, in Sydney’s northwest. Their mother, Olga, also took her on life in December that year.

An inquest investigating the tragedy is before state coroner Teresa O’Sullivan.

Yoga studio owner Oliver James Campbell told the inquest on Friday morning John had started attending classes in January 2017.

At the time he knew Olga well — she had attended hundreds of classes over five or six years — but did not know who John was.

Mr Campbell noticed John because he was “distracted, looking around the room” during classes, which made him uncomfortable.

“It sort of felt like he wasn’t there for yoga,” he told the inquest.

“There’s a couple of postures which are open leg, forward bending type postures which we do.

“Those postures typically have our head facing downwards towards the floor. It’s a fairly private moment.”

John and Olga did not cross paths at the studio until an early morning class on February 8, 2017.

“It is so clear in my mind exactly what happened that morning because it is the most odd class I have ever taken at 6am,” Mr Campbell said.

After he began the class and Olga didn’t join in, Mr Campbell said, he went over to check on her.

Olga was saying she had to leave because of “my ex” but Mr Campbell thought she was saying “my neck” and told her to feel free to leave if she was injured, he said.

She left, and then Mr Campbell noticed John.

“He did his weird thing again when he looked around the room when everyone had their legs spread out,” he said.

“I asked him after that class and not to come back. He shrugged his shoulders. Didn’t say much. I never saw him again.”

He only learned after the class when Olga rang him that John was her husband and they were in the midst of a messy divorce.

After Olga left, she went to Hornsby police station to report the incident, where constable Rowan Kingdon was on duty.

Mr Kingdon, who was medically discharged from the force earlier this year, told the inquest it was a “tricky” situation and he didn’t think any offence had been committed.

“She had no fears, from memory,” he said. “It was more like, how dare her ex-husband turn up at class?”

“It was more like it was tit-for-tat, that it was her class and she didn’t want him going there, that’s from what I can remember.”

The constable rang John, who lied to him, saying he and Olga had attended the same yoga studio before their divorce.

Counsel assisting the coroner Christopher Mitchell asked him: Wasn’t it relevant that John was staring at Olga?

“Yep but I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a yoga class. They all face in one direction,” Mr Kingdon said.

“I don’t know if she was looking directly at him. I don’t know how to interpret that. In yoga classes everyone is looking forward.”

Mr Kingdon told the inquest he failed to run a database check on John Edwards and that he mistakenly misrecorded the complaint so it did not show up in any future searches for “John Edwards”.

He agreed that if he had known John had previously been accused of stalking, that he had only just started attending the classes, and the fact John had lied to him about it that “my investigation would have gone on a completely different course”.

He said repeatedly as he gave evidence that he had sought assistance from his supervisor Sergeant Sean Ronning.

The inquest continues.


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