John Edwards, Sharon Edwards graphic
John Edwards, Sharon Edwards graphic Bree Anderson

Murder accused angry over wife's 'double life': court

THE "boxer's fracture" sustained by John Wallace Edwards was likely caused by punching and sustained around the time his wife disappeared, a court heard.

The 62-year-old is on trial in Coffs Harbour Supreme Court accused of murdering his estranged wife, Sharon Edwards, who was last seen alive on March 14, 2015. Her body has never been found.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr Amir Kalanie told the court Mr Edwards was referred to Grafton Base Hospital's fracture clinic in April 2015 with a fracture to his fifth metacarpal, known as a "boxer's fracture". He said Mr Edwards blamed the injury on a rock falling onto his hand while gardening.

Dr Kalanie said the explanation was inconsistent with the injury.

"He's either punched something or hit something and that's what's caused the fracture," he said.

Looking at Mr Edwards' x-ray scans from March 26, 2015, Dr Kalanie said the injury may have occurred the weekend Mrs Edwards disappeared.

Defence barrister Peter O'Connor questioned Dr Kalanie about a study that found 73 per cent of those injuries were caused by punching and 3 per cent were crush injuries.

Mr O'Connor suggested it was impossible to be "absolutely dogmatic" about the cause of the injury, to which Dr Kalanie agreed.

Trevor Perks had lived in Riverdale Crt, Grafton, for 10 years when John and Sharon Edwards bought the house next door. In giving evidence, Mr Perks said Mr Edwards was often seen working in the yard. He told the court he had a conversation with the accused some days after Mrs Edwards went missing.

He said Mr Edwards was upset police had taken away his pet snake and said he was "really cranky" Mrs Edwards had been leading a "double life" he had just found out about.

Mr Perks told the court of a cut to Mr Edwards' left index finger. The accused told him it had been caused by a stanley knife he was using while gardening.

Several neighbours living in Riverdale Crt were called to give evidence. The court heard Mr Edwards was often seen working around the garden and Mrs Edwards was only seen on occasions.

No-one giving evidence heard anything out of the ordinary at the Edwards' home on the night Mrs Edwards' disappeared.

Engineer Jamie Ruprecht has worked with Clarence Valley Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife on a project in Everlasting Swamp National Park, west of Lawrence, for several years. In giving evidence, Mr Ruprecht detailed the waterways around Lawrence. He said the water at Sportsmans Creek was difficult to see in, often with around 50cm visibility.

He said there had been several major floods in Everlasting Swamp National Park around the time Mrs Edwards disappeared, one in early March 2015 and one in May. The court heard the area was "completely inundated" with flood waters.

The trial continues before Justice Robert Hulme.

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