Mackay said Sharon is “not the type of person to go missing” and that she has made plans for the future.
“What exactly happened after Sharon’s return to her home cannot be determined,” she said.
However, “pings” from Sharon and John’s phones in the early hours of March 15, 2015 have been traced to the same telephone poles moving north of Grafton, near the town of Lawrence.
“This evidence strongly suggests that John killed Sharon shortly after she returned to the compound,” Mackay said, adding that it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt whether Sharon was beaten, beaten, strangled or “all three.” During this confrontation, John suffered a broken hand.
“Around 4 a.m., John Sharon somehow put Sharon in his van and headed in a direction essentially west of Lawrence,” Mackay said.
“There are many places in this area where a body could be disposed of in a way that is unlikely to ever be found. The area includes swamps, dams and rugged scrubland. And although New South Wales Police later conducted a full search of that area, Sharon’s body was never found.”
The investigation found that John gave his family and authorities “several inconsistent versions” including that he had not seen Sharon at all, that there had been a verbal argument and that a minor physical altercation ensued.
Mackay contended that the coroner could determine, on the whole, that Sharon died of blunt force trauma, or make an overt determination, and that her death occurred at her home at Riverdale Court in Grafton.
Assistant Medical Examiner Derek Lee determined that Sharon Edwards died on or about March 14, 2015 by homicide resulting from “at least one episode of interpersonal violence.”
“However, the available evidence is inconclusive as to the place of Ms Edwards’ death,” he said, adding that it is not known whether she died in Grafton, Lawrence or elsewhere.
“Also, the available evidence and the lack of an autopsy do not allow any statements to be made as to the exact cause of Ms Edwards’ death.”
Lee, who expressed his condolences and sympathy, said the brevity of the investigation in no way reflected the value the court placed on Sharon’s life and “what her loss means to her loved ones.”
“It is heartbreaking to know that Ms Edwards was taken away so suddenly and unexpectedly by those closest to her and that there is still some uncertainty surrounding Ms Edwards’ death,” he said.
“However, there is little doubt that the positive impression Ms. Edwards made on so many family members, loved ones, friends and people she has met throughout her life will remain a lasting and treasured memory.”
John Edwards is serving a maximum sentence of 24 years, including 18 years without parole. It’s the same verdict that wife killers Chris Dawson and John Bowie received last year.
But like Dawson and Bowie, Edwards is now subject to the state’s no corpse, no parole law. Under the law, introduced in October 2022, the state parole board is required to deny parole to murder offenders who do not cooperate in finding the bodies or remains of their victims.
Edwards, also a teacher, is eligible for parole in June 2035. His maximum sentence expires in June 2041.
After the 2019 sentencing, one of the couple’s sons, Joshua Edwards, told reporters the judge gave his father the opportunity to reveal the whereabouts of his mother’s body.
“I hope he will, but I don’t think he will,” he said.
For assistance, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counseling Service at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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