Olga Edwards, 36, had begun to prepare for her first Christmas (pictured) without her son, 15, and daughter, 13, when she took her own life this week
A devastated mother who lost her two children at the hands of their killer father tried to put on a brave face for her first Christmas alone.
Sydney mother Olga Edwards, 36, put up a ‘Santa Stop Here’ sign beside the letterbox and decorated the front of her home with festive lights and decorations, just as she did when Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, were alive.
But this year, five-months after her children were shot dead by their father John Edwards, it all became too hard for her.
Just days after the decorations were set up, Mrs Edwards took her own life.
Police found her body inside the West Pennant Hills house on Wednesday, the same place her children were killed on July 5.
Neighbours said Mrs Edwards had been bravely trying to rebuild her life after the children were killed – attending yoga and speaking with a psychiatrist at the Hornsby Kuring-Gai Hospital each week.
Friends had pitched in too, with a local church setting up a roster for residents who wanted to help by cooking her meals, and one man taking it upon himself to look after her lawns.
‘We used to have a prayer group for her,’ a neighbour told Daily Mail Australia. ‘Every Thursday night we’d sit down and pray for her.’
Mrs Edwards’ estranged husband, John, gunned the two teenagers down inside the family home (pictured) in July this year. Mrs Edwards continued living in the house before taking her own life in the house
Mrs Edwards (left) was a solicitor, who was well liked in the community. Neighbours said she was last seen on Monday, and had seemed happy at the time. Mr Edwards (right) took his own life soon after murdering his children
Neighbours and friends came to the home on Thursday to mourn Mrs Edwards, with one woman seen sitting at the post box for some time and crying quietly
‘We told her about it. She wasn’t a Christian,’ he added, noting the horrors that had taken place in her home were enough to rock even the most devout person.
The neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had last spoken to Mrs Edwards on Monday, and ‘she was happy’.
‘If we saw her, we’d chat to her, ask her how she’s going, if she needed anything,’ he explained, noting while the woman’s death was tragic, it was not entirely unexpected.
‘We took special care of her, but you can only do what you can,’ he said.
In the months before her suicide, Mrs Edwards had begun to sell off her possessions, including a boys Malvern Star bicycle (pictured), which she described as ‘hardly used’
‘We were praying for her on Monday night. That’s all you can do really.
‘Now she’ll be with her two children in heaven.’
Facebook posts revealed Mrs Edwards had spent the past few months selling some of the family’s possessions, including boxes of CDs and DVDs put up for sale in recent months.
Most heartbreaking was a picture of what appeared to be a boy’s bicycle, selling for $100.
‘Malvern Star 2016 bicycle. Good condition, just a little dusty because hardly ever used,’ the caption read.
The posts to Facebook’s marketplace also included a large metal toolbox and a box set of news broadcasts from WWII.
Jack Edwards (left) and his little sister Jennifer (right) were at the centre of a bitter custody dispute, which had ended with a court ruling Mr Edwards was to have no contact with the children or their mother. He stalked the family and carried out a premeditated murder while he knew Mrs Edwards was not at home
One man was seen dropping flowers at Mrs Edwards’ address (pictured) before taking a second bouquet to a neighbour who was heavily involved in looking out for the grieving mother
She also sold CD’s, DVD’s, and a large metal toolbox on Facebook marketplace
In the past few weeks, she had stopped attending Bikram yoga at a shopping complex nearby her house, and residents said her car rarely moved from the driveway.
Mrs Edwards was a deeply devoted mother, and the horrific murders of her children had destroyed her, her neighbour told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They were a very loving family, she loved those children, that’s the thing. She really loved those children,’ he said.
‘They were her world. She was a lawyer, an intelligent, smart person. She could play piano, she was quite articulate.
‘You didn’t hear the piano so much after… the daughter mainly used to play.
In a devastating lasting tribute to her children, three My Family stickers were seen on the back of her car.
They pictured a woman and two children – one boy and one girl.
Mrs Edwards’s car sat in the driveway of the home, with her My Family stickers, portraying a mother, a daughter and a son, seen on the back window
Mrs Edwards collapsed in shock when she arrived home to find her children dead on July 5
The man said after John Edwards gunned down Jack and Jennifer, Mrs Edwards – understandably – closed up. She didn’t go out as much, and was forced to stop working.
‘She wasn’t in a good space, she couldn’t be a lawyer,’ he said. ‘But she had enough money to keep going.’
John Edwards murdered his children about 5.20pm on July 5, after following them in a rented car.
He chose a time where he knew Mrs Edwards would not be back from work, and shot at his children multiple times, leaving their bodies on the floor of the home.
About 12 hours later, the financial advisor shot himself at his home in nearby Normanhurst, with the Daily Telegraph reporting he had laid out a shirt reading: ‘World’s best dad’.
He and Mrs Edwards had met when the Russian woman moved to Australia aged 20. Mr Edwards had already been married four times.
After multiple violent outbursts, Mrs Edwards hired a lawyer, and was able to get her children out of the situation safely. Her husband was not permitted to have any contact.
But the ‘reclusive’ man, who also volunteered with the NSW RFS, found them, and meticulously planned the deaths of his children and himself.
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