ON TRIAL: Joshua, Zac and Eli Edwards with their father John Wallace Edwards who is accused of murdering their mother Sharon Edwards. The family made a plea for public assistance in 2016.
ON TRIAL: Joshua, Zac and Eli Edwards with their father John Wallace Edwards who is accused of murdering their mother Sharon Edwards. The family made a plea for public assistance in 2016. Leigh Jensen

'I was hoping dad would tell us what happened to mum'

JOSHUA Edwards hasn't seen his mother for four years.

On Thursday, he fought back tears in the Supreme Court at Coffs Harbour as he spoke about his close relationship with her and recounted a conversation he had with his father about the night she was last seen alive, on March 14, 2015.

His father, John Wallace Edwards, is standing trial after pleading not guilty to the murder of his estranged wife Sharon Margaret Edwards, who was last seen four years ago after spending a night out at a South Grafton hotel.

Joshua recalled his father told him he went looking for Sharon after she wouldn't tell him where she was that Saturday night. The court was told the accused searched Grafton and South Grafton for her car and found it at the Good Intent Hotel.

CCTV footage from the South Grafton pub tendered to the court showed Mrs Edwards with two men just before 7pm that evening. The court was told the two men were Mrs Edwards' boyfriend, Billy Mills, and a friend.

The court was told the accused didn't relish the thought of Mr Mills spending the night in a home he had bought and went to the Grafton house where he parked his ute in the garage and waited inside.

Joshua said his father told him he heard the roller door open and close, but when he ran to look, Mrs Edwards' car wasn't there.

"He waited for a few hours, she came home and then he tried to say he was calm, he told her to get a hotel room," Joshua told the court.

Some weeks later, Joshua said in a confrontation with his father, the accused added to his account.

Joshua told the court, when Mrs Edwards returned to her Grafton home alone, a fight broke out between the couple.

Friends and family sitting in court looked on distraught as Joshua told the court the accused said he had wrestled with Mrs Edwards and pinned her to the floor before she went to bed, and he left the house.

Joshua recounted his father "was mumbling a bit and said 'I should've just walked away'."

In cross-examination, defence barrister Peter O'Connor questioned why Joshua told police about the altercation in July 2017, after his father had been charged with the murder of Mrs Edwards.

"I wanted to keep on the good side. I was hoping he would tell us what happened to mum," he said.

"I didn't want to be the cause of why he was arrested, that's why I didn't tell police until after he was arrested."

Joshua conceded when questioned by Mr O'Connor he gave Police a false statement, two days after his mother was reported missing. An excerpt read in court stated Joshua believed his parents "were still together" at the time of Mrs Edwards disappearance.

"I said that because I was trying to look out for my father," he said.

Joshua told the court his parents were living separately at the time Mrs Edwards went missing and it was the "first step" in his mum leaving the relationship.

Joshua said his relationship with his father was "up and down" and the pair had gone without contact for several years but had "repaired" the relationship at the time Mrs Edwards went missing.

The trial continues before Justice Robert Hulme.



NEW ERA: Kilian wants local cubs in the Panthers jersey

premium_icon NEW ERA: Kilian wants local cubs in the Panthers jersey

DAN Kilian is a big man with huge ambitions for the Sawtell Panthers

SAVE THE WEED: Man charged for starting fire to protect crop

premium_icon SAVE THE WEED: Man charged for starting fire to protect crop

Man lights uncontrolled bushfire to protect his cannabis crop.

Edwards 'fabricated' stories to remove suspicion, court told

premium_icon Edwards 'fabricated' stories to remove suspicion, court told

John Edwards told 13 versions of night Sharon disappeared: court