A deranged young man who stabbed his AFL coach father to death during a psychotic episode will be allowed to leave a mental asylum after just six years.
Phil Walsh, 55, was head coach of the Adelaide Crows when he was knifed over 20 times by his mentally ill son Cy in July 2015.
The grisly incident sent shockwaves through Australia’s sporting landscape and also sparked an outpouring of grief for the respected football coach.
Walsh, who was 26 at the time, was remanded indefinitely to James Nash House mental health facility in Adelaide’s north-east after he was found not guilty of murdering his father in 2016 due to mental incompetence.
Two years later, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he was moved to Ashton House where he could receive treatment and was granted permission for closely-supervised community release.
Walsh, now 32, applied in July to take unsupervised day leave from the low-security mental health facility, which was this week granted by the South Australian Supreme Court.
Walsh could previously only leave the facility if he was in the care of his mother and other medical staff.
He will still live on the premises but now can leave on his own for day trips to do things such as shopping or leisure activities.
A panel of court-appointed mental health experts had to sign off on the proposal in consultation with members of his family.
The proposal was granted following months of intensive psychological and psychiatric evaluation.
Walsh’s lawyer Trish Johnson told the hearing in July that ‘the time had come to consider the next phase of her client’s recovery’.
‘The doctors have confirmed he’s doing well with accompanied leave, and so we now seek to move to unaccompanied leave,’ she said.
‘I ask that application be listed in two and a half months’ time, and that reports be prepared for the court just prior to that.’
During the trial, the court found Walsh had undiagnosed and untreated schizophrenia at the time of killing his father at the home in Adelaide’s beachside suburb of Somerton Park.
It was also revealed that Walsh was a heavy user of hallucinogenic drugs, which exacerbated his mental health problems.
But his legal team said he is now taking antipsychotic medication and has ‘had an excellent response’.
His mother Meredith Walsh previously told the court her wish is for her son to have a ‘normal life’.
‘She was hoping that in the future she could move with Cy and reside interstate as there was a large family support network outside of South Australia,’ a 2018 report stated.
Phil Walsh played 122 games for Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears between 1983 and 1990.
Following assistant coach stints at Port Adelaide and West Coast, he took over as Crows head coach in 2015, recording seven wins from 12 games until his death halfway through the season.Internet Explorer Channel Network