Sharon Edwards
Sharon Edwards

Edwards 'happier than ever' when she disappeared, court told

SHARON Margaret Edwards was looking forward to her son's wedding and watching her granddaughter grow up when she disappeared four years ago, a court heard.

John Wallace Edwards, 62, is on trial after pleading not guilty to murdering his estranged wife.

The Coffs Harbour court was told the Coutts Crossing Public School teacher was a devoted mother of three, grandmother and happier than ever when she disappeared on March 14, 2015.

In an opening statement to the court, the prosecution said the 55-year-old woman was "undoubtedly" dead but no body had ever been found.

The court was told there had been no bank account activity, or outgoing activity on her mobile phone since the day of her disappearance.

Mrs Edwards was last seen on March 14, 2015, after spending the evening at the Good Intent Hotel, South Grafton with Billy Mills.

The prosecution said Mrs Edwards and Mr Mills engaged in an affair in the early years of her marriage with the accused and that the relationship was rekindled at the end of 2013.

In giving evidence, Mrs Edwards' close friend Christine Kennedy said Mrs Edwards wanted to amicably split from the accused. She said Mrs Edwards had raised the issue with her estranged husband.

"She had seen an accountant and got legal advice on settlement ... as far as she was concerned, it was over," Ms Kennedy told the court.

The court heard, some months before her disappearance, Mrs Edwards moved to Grafton, in to a home bought with Mr Edwards' inheritance while he remained at the Lawrence residence.

On the day of her disappearance, the prosecution submitted, Mrs Edwards met Mr Mills and a friend at the Good Intent Hotel where she stayed until around 11pm. The court was told Mr Edwards went to the Grafton house that night where he parked his car in the garage and went inside. 

It was submitted that Mrs Edwards came home with Mr Mills but turned around when she saw the accused's ute in the garage. The prosecution alleged Mrs Edwards returned to the house alone and that Mr Edwards was enraged Mr Mills was in his wife's life again.

"The prospect of Mr Mills staying in the house he paid 'every red cent' for was one he could not bear." 

The prosecution submitted there were inconsistencies with Mr Edwards accounts to police of his movements the night his wife disappeared. 

Mr Edwards' barrister Peter O'Connor told the court his client reported his wife missing on March 16 after attending her workplace to check if she had turned up.

He said the accused went back to Grafton Police Station the next morning in a "frantic state" and that no charges were laid against him until two years and three months after Mrs Edwards was reported missing.

The trial continues before Justice Robert Hulme.