Psychiatrists disagree over where surf legend sits on the "schizophrenic spectrum."
The former Australian champion Tony Hardy has had his sentence for murdering his ex-wife’s husband temporarily postponed after differing psychiatric assessments over how his mental illness affected him on the day of the killing in 2018.
Tony had belted his ex-wife’s husband, David Graves, who was seventy-five, with an aluminium pole fatally injuring the man; Tony’s ex-wife Jacqui was also hospitalised for injuries.
Tony, who is seventy, was set to argue he was not criminally responsible on the basis he was of unsound mind but changed his plea, admitting to his ex-wife’s husband’s murder and causing grievous bodily harm to his ex-wife.
The events on the day of the killing reveal a tragic stacking of grievances fuelled by Hardy’s schizophrenia.
Mr Graves was married to Hardy’s ex-wife Jacqui and the couple had built a house in Holbrook Street, Margaret River, that they offered to as a rental to Hardy, who had taken to living in his car.
But during his time living at the house, he remained living in his car in the property’s garage, complaining about the heat and wanting the garage door painted white, the court heard.
Prosecutor Michael Cvetkoski told the court that Hardy and the couple had several arguments until they eventually called in a painter to paint the garage, which was expected to take five days.
Hardy took to sleeping in his car, parked at the local showgrounds.
The night before the murder, the couple were forced to stay at the house after access to their Augusta residence was cut off by bushfires.
At 3.40pm the next day, Hardy visited the property to get water for his 4 litre canteen and parked on the front garden.
Mr Graves was outside painting a windowsill when they got in an argument about where Hardy had parked his car, Mr Cvetkoski said.
The argument “exploded” into a physical struggle, with Hardy overpowering Mr Graves, who fell backwards over a shrub, the court heard.
It was then Hardy went for the 1.5m painter’s pole and struck Mr Graves to the chest as he tried to get up, before hitting him again to the left side of his neck.
Mr Cvetkoski said Hardy heard a “cracking noise” and Mr Graves did not move again.
Hardy left swearing “you bastards”, but didn’t think Mr Graves was dead, the court heard.
If you live around Margaret River, you’ll know Hardy and his brood. Amazing surf family. Tony is pops to surfer-bodyboarders Gene, Ryan, Brett and Josh.
All of ’em except Josh have won a State surfing title. Even his granddaughter Willow scooped one up to go alongside her two Small Fries crowns.
But Tony stopped surfing a while back; blamed age, injuries.
He was what you’d call, in polite company, an eccentric. You’d see him at Main Break, Margaret River, the wave he owned in the seventies, trimming the pig-face that has grown over the footpath. Or stopped at the side of the road in Margs with his shears trimming the bush.
The disagreement between psychiatrists in court centred around where Hardy sat on the “schizophrenic spectrum” and his “delusional thought patterns.”
Hardy told the court he was acting in self-defence over being constantly told “how to live.”
Next court date, May 27.