Sport Soccer

Friday 17 November 2017

Australian football coach Phil Walsh stabbed to death at home as son charged with murder

Jack De Menezes

The AFL is in shock after Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh was stabbed to death at his home, with his 26-year-old son arrested and charged with murder.

South Australian police have confirmed Mr Walsh, 55, received treatment after receiving “multiple stab wounds”, but died at the scene of an incident that also left his wife, Meredith, with non-life threatening injuries, reported to be a wound to her leg.

Mr Walsh’s 26-year-old son, Cy Walsh, faced a bedside hearing on Friday at the hospital where he was being held for psychiatric assessment, and a knife used in the attack was recovered from the house where Mr Walsh lived with his wife and son.

A statement released by South Australian police read: “Police can confirm that the man murdered at Somerton Park in the early hours of the morning is Phil Walsh, coach of the Adelaide Crows and his son, aged 26, has been charged with murder.

“Just after 2am, Police and ambulance crews were called to a house in Bungey Avenue after a domestic dispute.

“Ambulance crews treated a seriously injured 55-year-old, but sadly he died at the scene. The victim's son, was arrested earlier this morning on First Avenue, Glenelg East and has since been charged with murder.”

It added that Mr Walsh’s son will remain under police guard with a mental health assessment due to take place as well as the bedside hearing.

“The accused, who remains under police guard, is currently undergoing a mental health assessment at the Flinders Medical Centre which can take up to 24 hours.  He is expected to have a bedside hearing later today,” the statement added.

“The deceased's wife sustained non-life threatening injuries during the incident and is currently receiving treatment in hospital.

“Sturt CIB and Major Crime Detectives remain at the scene and investigations continue.”

A former player and long-serving assistant coach, Mr Walsh was embarking on his first season as a head coach with Adelaide, and the Crows’ scheduled match against Geelong on Sunday has been cancelled with the two teams set to share the points. The 14 other matches planned for this weekend will take place with a number of tributes being planned.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said "the sorrow and the stress felt today touches many in our industry because Phil Walsh gave such a lot to our game."

"He was a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and great intelligence," McLachlan said. "He was part of the AFL family for 32 years and there are not many words of comfort today for those who feel his terrible loss in these most difficult of circumstances."

Walsh played 122 games in the Victorian Football League, the forerunner to the AFL, for Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears between 1983 and 1990.

He started out as a strength and conditioning coach at Geelong in his post-playing career before becoming assistant coach at Port Adelaide in 1999, where he helped the Power win the 2004 premiership.

He moved to the West Coast Eagles as assistant coach in 2009 before returning to the Power in early 2014. He was appointed Crows coach in the 2014 off-season, replacing the fired Brenton Sanderson.

In an interview in April, Walsh said his focus on his career had impacted on his family life. He had been a player and coach for more than 33 years.

"I just immersed myself, got consumed and was selfish with as much time I committed to footy," he said. "I lost that connection and I'm trying to reconnect with my son, which I have done."

A steady flow of tributes were being left at the doors of the Adelaide Football Club headquarters throughout the day. Crows supporters brought flowers and cards and paused to pay their respects, while some fans left Crows' uniforms and scarves.

Additional reporting by AP

Independent News Service

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