Cop admits bungle over complaint made by killer dad’s ex
The police officer who wrongly recorded allegations that violent father John Edwards had three times assaulted his children has admitted she had never read the official police procedures for reporting family and domestic violence.
"I knew there would have been a policy of some sort," Senior Constable Brooke Cooper told an inquest today.
But she said she had still not read it, despite knowing she would be giving evidence at the inquest into the deaths of John Edwards and his children Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13.
It meant that when Olga Edwards went to Hornsby Police Station on December 26, 2016, to report the assaults on Jack and Jennifer in 2015, Const Cooper did not record the allegations correctly with the result that they did not show up when John Edwards applied and was given a firearms licence, the inquest heard.
Not only that, there was no investigation into the allegations and it was recorded it as a "Domestic Violence - No Offence".
Const Cooper today agreed that what Olga Edwards was alleging were three assaults on her children which should have been properly recorded as "assault domestic violence related".
In July 2018, Edwards followed Jennifer to the home where she had been hiding from her father with her brother and their mother and shot his children dead.
Edwards, 67, then turned the gun on himself.
Six months later, Olga Edwards, 37, killed herself.
The inquest has been told that the way that report was recorded by Constable Cooper in the COPS database meant it did not show up as a "hit" when he applied for a firearms licence.
Const Cooper had wrongly recorded Olga as the "victim" when it should have been Jack and Jennifer who were the victims.
She recorded John Edwards as a "person named" and not a person of interest.
There was no investigation into the allegations despite the police procedures calling for a "pro-investigation response" which means they should have been investigated.
Const Cooper said she normally taught road safety but she was on general duties when Olga Edwards walked up to the front desk of Hornsby Police Station.
She said on Wednesday that she never followed up the allegations and spoke to Jack or Jennifer, or John Edwards.
She said she had asked Olga Edwards to bring the children in but agreed with counsel assisting the inquest, Christopher Mitchell, that "with hindsight" she should have either herself or got someone else to be pro-active and go and talk to the children and also to John Edwards.
Ms Edwards had told police her husband had hit and kicked Jack because he was playing with his father's Ipad, had hit him on another occasion when Jack was playing near a stack of CDs and had slapped Jennifer on the face when she wouldn't go to sleep.
The inquest had heard that when the firearms registry did access information on Edwards, the report did reveal a conviction for assault and malicious damage in 1969, an assault on one of his previous partners in 1998, AVOs taken out in 1993, 1998 and 2000 to protect his ex-partners and more AVOs in 2011 to protect one of his daughters from a previous relationship and grandchildren.
The inquest is looking at whether how the firearms registry was adequate but also whether Edwards should have been given a licence knowing what did show up in their search.
It continues before State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan.*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. The Suicide Call Back service is on 1300 659 467
Originally published as Cop admits bungle over complaint made by killer dad's ex