Press conference at the Grafton Police Station about Sharon Edwards being missing, which has now become murder. Three sons are Josh [who spoke], Zac and Eli with their Dad John Edwards April 1, 2015
Press conference at the Grafton Police Station about Sharon Edwards being missing, which has now become murder. Three sons are Josh [who spoke], Zac and Eli with their Dad John Edwards April 1, 2015 Leigh Jensen

'I wanted to believe Dad had nothing to do with it'

ZAC Edwards, son of murder accused John Wallace Edwards, has told Coffs Harbour Supreme Court his father "changed his story" in discussions about what happened the night Sharon Edwards disappeared.

Zac and Eli Edwards gave evidence on Friday in the trial against their father, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of their mother Sharon Margaret Edwards.

The court has heard the 55-year-old Coutts Crossing Public School teacher was last seen alive on March 14, 2015 after spending a night out with her boyfriend and a friend at a South Grafton hotel.

In giving evidence, Zac said some weeks after they had initially discussed that night, his father mentioned an "altercation" with Mrs Edwards.

Some of a recorded conversation between police and the accused on March 17, 2015, the day Sharon Edwards was reported missing, was played in court this morning.

In the almost two-hour interview Mr Edwards spoke rapidly, often veering off track of the conversation and going on tangents.

In the recording, Mr Edwards said he bought a home in Riverdale Court, Grafton where Sharon was living while he finished renovations at their Lawrence property.

Mr Edwards said the long-term plan was to rent out the Lawrence address and for the married couple to live in Grafton together.

Mr Edwards told police he went looking for his wife on March 14 when she wouldn't tell him where she was with friends and then waited at their Grafton home until she got home late in the evening and they discussed the man Mrs Edwards was with - Billy Mills - before Mr Edwards returned to Lawrence.

"I said 'Look he's not staying here... I just don't like him in my house'," he told police.

The court heard Zac, the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Edwards, last saw his mother the morning she went missing when she called into his Coffs Harbour home around 9am.

Zac was measured in giving succinct answers to the Crown prosecutor as he recounted conversations with his father since his mother's disappearance.

He said he understood his parents were living separately during the renovations in the short term, with plans to move to Grafton.

Zac recounted conversations with his father and told the court the accused "changed his story" after his initial account of what happened on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

The court heard the accused said he had waited at the Grafton house for Mrs Edwards to come home and had a "calm conversation" with her about her relationship with Mr Mills.

After the family made an appeal to the media in April 2015, Zac and his brothers confronted their father again.

"This time he mentioned they had an altercation," Zac said.

He recalled his father said he had "grabbed her arm" and pinned it back behind her.

In cross-examination, defence barrister Peter O'Connor asked why Zac didn't make a police statement at the time.

"I wanted to believe Dad had nothing to do with it for as long as I could," he said.

Zac told the court the accused a year later didn't remember the altercation when asked.

Eli Edwards spoke softly when he gave evidence his mother was "over the moon" when she heard she was to be grandmother to his daughter.

He told the court his father was "paranoid" and "jittering" in the days after the missing person report had been filed and police searched the Lawrence and Grafton homes.

The court heard in cross-examination Eli made a statement to police his parents were "100 per cent together" at the time of Mrs Edwards's disappearance.

The trial continues before Justice Robert Hulme.



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