CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses severe mental illness and family violence.
Suppression orders that previously prevented details of the Cy Walsh case from being released have now been lifted, and the details of Walsh’s mental illness paints a very grim, and troubling picture.
Walsh was yesterday formally found not guilty of murdering his father, Adelaide Crows senior coach Phil Walsh, by reason of mental incompetence. The South Australian Supreme Court accepted that Cy’s mental condition at the time of Phil’s murder meant that Cy could not be held criminally responsible for his actions. But the mental health assessment the court heard goes far deeper, revealing Cy was suffering from severe mental impairment and delusions, and was a “deeply troubled” young man.
Court documents revealed that Cy was first admitted to a Perth psychiatric hospital in May 2014, a full 14 months before he killed his father, after suffering a psychotic episode.
Forensic psychologist Dr Paul Furst, who compiled an assessment of Cy’s mental condition after Phil’s death, asserted that he believed Cy had been mentally ill for quite some time, and was exhibiting the classic signs of schizophrenia.
The documents also revealed that Cy had a complex history of drug use, but that his usage of drugs did not cause his mental illness, nor did they contribute to its progression. Rather, his drug usage acted as a mask for his mental illness, obfuscating his deteriorating mental health from friends and family. Toxicology reports showed that Cy was not under the influence of drugs at the time of Phil’s murder.
In addition, Cy had a complex relationship with his father, and felt under immense pressure to live up to his idealised view of him. Dr Furst explained further in his report:
“I believe that Mr Walsh has been mentally unwell for far longer than people have been aware and that his preoccupation with illicit drugs has masked this.”
“He developed an ambivalent relationship with his father on the one hand idealising him and on the other devaluing him.”
“His search for enlightenment and transformative change can, perhaps, be understood as an attempt to function on a similar level to his idealised view of his father.”
Dr Furst also stated that Cy’s feelings towards his father deteriorated quite rapidly, and developed to the point that he fully believed that he was responsible for his father’s coaching ideas. This, in turn, lead Cy to believe that his father, the Adelaide Crows, and the AFL were linked to the illuminati, and that they were all plotting to kill him. Cy had also reportedly begun hearing voices, and believed the only way to protect himself was to maim his father.
“Ultimately he came to believe that he was responsible for his father’s coaching ideas and his father and powerful associates would kill him.”
“He believed his father was involved in some sort of cult and found strange links between his father and the illuminati and the Adelaide Crows.”
“He said he was having thoughts that he was going to die ‘Heath Ledger style’ and he had a feeling as though there was a demonic force impacting upon him and that something was trying to urge him to go to his father’s house with the intention of maiming him or injuring him.”
“He said he had no plan and it was just spontaneous and that it was his intention to slash his father’s face or eye because if the world could see his face they would see the evil and ‘the world would know’.”
Witness statements heard throughout the course of the court hearings paint Cy as an extremely intelligent, deep thinking academic young man, who constantly struggled with feelings of inadequacy stemming from his inability to follow in his father’s footballing footsteps due to a degenerative knee condition.
Cy was reportedly jealous of his father’s close relationship with his AFL players, and sought spiritual enlightenment through travel and drug usage, which included the use of the South American hallucinogen ayahuasca.
Cy’s mother, Meredith Walsh, said in a statement read to the court that she had suspected Cy “had some sort of paranoia, personality disorder or schizophrenia.“
“When he has these paranoid feelings or emotions, the venom that comes out of his mouth towards his father is horrendous. And for no reason. Phil’s never harmed him or abused him or anything like that, so I don’t know where that’s come from.”
Cy Walsh will now spend the rest of his life on a psychiatric supervision order.
Source: ABC News.
Photo: Nine News.