Police search a property on Tanglewood Road north of Lawrence in relation to the disappearance of Sharon Edwards.
Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Police search a property on Tanglewood Road north of Lawrence in relation to the disappearance of Sharon Edwards. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Edwards the 'only suspect' in alleged murder: Defence

THE case against the "one and only" suspect in the alleged murder of Sharon Edwards, her estranged husband, has no forensic evidence tying him to it, a court has heard.

In the closing argument to the jury in the Coffs Harbour Supreme Court trial, defence barrister Peter O'Connor spoke for John Wallace Edwards, 62, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mrs Edwards who was last seen alive on March 14, 2015.

Mr O'Connor suggested the accused had been the "one and only suspect" from early in the police investigation and the distinct lack of forensic evidence linking him to the crime could not be ignored.

After searching his property at Grafton and Lawrence, Police had installed tracking devices in Mr Edwards' two cars, listening devices in his home and bugged his phones.

"Even his sons thought he was acting paranoid, telling them his house was bugged...He wasn't paranoid, it was all true."

Mr O'Connor said the accused went to Grafton Police Station on the morning of March 16, 2015, but was given a "pat on the back" and "sent away" to wait it out.

"It's quite clear it had been the accused's intention that morning, when he went to Grafton Police Station to set in train those events," he said.

John and Sharon Edwards. Photo: contributed
John and Sharon Edwards. Photo: contributed

"If he had committed a terrible crime and needed time to carry out the forensic clean up that the Crown seems to be saying he had so skilfully carried out, why is he trying to jump up and down at Grafton Police Station first thing on Monday morning?"

The neighbours at Sharon's Grafton home were an "observant bunch", said Mr O'Connor, as were the small community at Lawrence.

They regularly saw Mr Edwards gardening and working in the yard. Mr O'Connor said had the accused been cleaning away any misgivings on Sunday the jury could be sure a neighbour "would've told you about it"

"That someone can commit a crime in Grafton at 3am and then head off into the never never without attracting any suspicion is something of a myth," Mr O'Connor said.

Mr O'Connor said the phone location data, obtained for Mr and Mrs Edwards' phone, was not sourced for that of Mrs Edwards' love affair - William 'Billy' Mills, meaning his exact movements the night Mrs Edwards disappeared could not be determined.

He said a discrepancy in Mr Mills' evidence to court about a phone call at 3am the night Mrs Edwards disappeared was accepted as a mistake.

"(The Crown) won't take the same approach to the accused and instead ask you to treat any discrepancy he has made as a lie."

Mr O'Connor called into question the 13 different accounts Mr Edwards gave of the night his wife was last seen alive, identified by the prosecution.

He said in many of the conversations with friends, police and his sons the court was told Mr Edwards spoke in a "disjointed fashion" was distressed and talking in tangents.

"They had to interpret what he was saying," Mr O'Connor said. 

Justice Robert Hulme is expected to give his summarising remarks on Tuesday.