Antony Hardy jailed for murder of ex-wife’s husband on Margaret River property
A 70-year-old WA man whose mental illness has not been properly treated for decades has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 12 years for murdering his ex-wife’s husband and assaulting her after an argument over the parking.
- Antony Hardy used a painter’s pole to punch David Graves, 75
- He was living on the Graves property at the time of the attack
- He will have to spend at least 12 years behind bars before being released
Antony Hardy, a well-known surfer from the Margaret River area, used a painter’s pole to fatally strike David Graves, 75, at an area property in January 2018.
When Mr. Graves’ wife Jacqui tried to stop the attack, he hit her with the stick, breaking her elbow and breaking one of her fingers.
Hardy had stayed at the couple’s Margaret River property, but refused to live inside the house and instead slept in his car in the garage.
Living conditions led to arguments between him and the couple over issues, such as over-pruning of plants and refusing to water them.
The murder happened after Hardy took offense when Mr. Graves asked him to move his car from the garden to the driveway,
Hardy was married to Ms Graves between 1973 and 1992 and their relationship ended due to her increasingly erratic behavior.
The Supreme Court heard that during the marriage Ms Graves sought help for her husband and in the 1970s she was diagnosed with schizophrenia but was told nothing could be done.
Hardy had a thriving surfboard manufacturing business, but it collapsed in the 1990s, and the court heard it had a serious impact on him.
Hardy’s disease, a ‘diagnostic dilemma’
Judge Stephen Hall said that in the years that followed Hardy’s eccentric behavior, which included cutting holes in bins to facilitate waste disposal and pruning of shrubs in public places, was tolerated by the community of Margaret River.
However, in 2017 his family noticed he was getting more restless, and that’s when the Graves offered to let him live on their property.
Justice Hall said all of the doctors who examined Hardy after the murder agreed his case was “a diagnostic dilemma” but appeared to fall on the schizophrenic spectrum.
He said that while the 70-year-old knew what he was doing when he attacked the couple, his mental illness distorted his thoughts and impaired his ability to control his actions.
“It was a factor that led to these terrible events,” Justice Hall said.
He called the victim impact statements provided by Ms Graves and Mr Graves’ brother “heartbreaking”, adding that nothing he could say could sum up their suffering.
Hardy will likely spend most, if not all, staying in prison.
Judge Hall said Mr Graves was older than Hardy, which made him vulnerable and had been subjected to a sudden and unexpected attack, with no way to defend himself.
“It really is a terrible offense and a terrible sentencing exercise… the impact of your actions that day was truly appalling,” he told Hardy.
However, Justice Hall said the murder took place when Hardy suffered from a mental illness that had never been adequately treated.
Justice Hall urged prison officials to ensure Hardy receives treatment while in custody, saying it is his best chance at getting parole when the time comes.
However, he admitted that given Hardy’s age he was likely to spend “a good part, if not all” of his remaining life in prison.
With the time already up, Hardy will be eligible for the first time in January 2030.