Olga Edwards, 37, was found dead at West Pennant Hills home on Wednesday, less than six months after her children were murdered by their father
Rosie Batty ‘deeply understands’ why Olga Edwards couldn’t cope with losing her two children at the hands of their deranged father – and says the grieving mother reached out to her for help before she took her own life.
The domestic violence campaigner befriended Olga in July, after her estranged husband chased her teenage children through their Sydney home, before shooting them dead as they cowered in a bedroom.
Ms Edwards, 37, was found dead inside the same West Pennant Hills property on Wednesday, less than six months after she found the bullet riddled bodies of Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13.
Ms Batty was devastated by Wednesday’s news, but said her friend ‘had every reason to’ end her life after John Edwards, 68, carried out a sick revenge plot, punishing his wife for leaving him two years earlier.
Ms Batty told The Sydney Morning Herald Olga had lost trust in authorities that were meant to protect her children, ‘from the initial police response’ to ‘her experience in the family court system’.
‘I really want people to understand [this tragedy] was exacerbated through the family law court system… that’s exactly what it was, another example of the system failing,’ she said.
Rosie Batty (pictured) says she ‘deeply understands’ why the mother couldn’t cope with the grief of losing her two children at the hands of their deranged father
‘I did feel with her a sense of hopelessness… I felt that it would not surprise me if she made that decision… I don’t blame her and I understand. I deeply understand.’
Ms Batty, whose 11-year-old son Luke was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in 2014, said the grief of losing a child ‘goes beyond physical pain’.
‘[Olga] would say to me, how do you find meaning in your life? How do you do that? She was very upset at that particular time, reeling from the finality of everything,’ she said.
Olga refused to leave the property where her children were killed, falling into a deep depression and dreading spending Christmas alone.
Olga collapsed in shock when she arrived home to find her children dead on July 5
Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Betty (pictured) revealed she had bonded with Olga in the months before her tragic death
The Russian-born mother, a solicitor with a Sydney-based legal firm, was unable to return to work and became withdrawn from life.
‘She was dreading Christmas without the kids and planned to leave Australia for good. She had organised to spend Christmas Day at the house to be close to Jack and Jennifer,’ a friend told The Daily Telegraph.
Police were in constant contact with Olga and neighbours would often bring her meals.
‘Every day she would sit inside the house with the blinds down. We’d take her food but sometimes she wouldn’t answer the door,’ a neighbour said.
Ms Batty, whose 11-year-old son Luke (pictured together) was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in 2014, said the grief of losing a child ‘goes beyond physical pain’
‘She would sometimes fall asleep in Jack’s or Jen’s bed at night. She couldn’t get over never seeing them again.’
Daily Mail Australia understands Olga’s body was found by police at about 10am, after officers responded to a concern for welfare report.
Her death is not being treated as suspicious.
A senior police officer described the horrific incident as a ‘slow murder’.
Police said at the time of the shootings Edwards had been planning to kill his children for as long as a year.
Edwards murdered his kids at about 5.20pm on July 5, knowing their mother would soon be home from work.
Police and forensic services attend the scene of the June double murder-suicide at West Pennant Hills in Sydney
Olga collapsed in shock when she arrived home to find her son and daughter had been shot dead.
Edwards shot himself about 12 hours later at his home in the nearby suburb of Normanhurst.
Two powerful handguns registered in the father’s name and used to kill the children were found at his home.
Before he killed himself, Edwards laid out a shirt with ‘world’s best dad’ printed on it, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Edwards killed himself shortly after the shooting at his nearby home in Normanhurst (pictured)
Olga was found dead at her home in West Pennant Hills, Sydney’s north-west, on Wednesday morning – months after her husband murdered their children at the same property
He also got his neighbour’s son to walk his dog before his suicide.
Olga moved to Australia when she was 20 and met Edwards, who had already been married four times.
She had both children before the age of 25 but their relationship had always been violent.
Olga took legal action, and after a two-year custody battle the pair found a compromise.
Jack and Jen lived with Olga and Edwards was not allowed to know where they lived so he could not harass them.
NSW Police stand outside the entrance to a property in Harris Road in Normanhurst, where the father turned the gun on himself after murdering his children
But through social media he was able to track them down and stalk them before executing the meticulously planned murder-suicide.
Edwards was described as the ‘most shocking person I have ever come across’ by Olga’s boss at her lower north shore law firm.
Edwards, described as a ‘recluse’ by his neighbours, was a financial planner and volunteered with the NSW Rural Fire Service, according to his LinkedIn page.
Edwards’ sister Dianne said she had nothing good to say about him and that her whole family were horrified by the murders.
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The siblings were executed in a bedroom at the West Pennant Hills property (pictured) by their estranged father on July 5