An internationally renowned health economist was struck at least 13 times in the head with a hammer when he was killed in Tasmania in 2012.
Professor Gavin Mooney and his partner Dr Delys Weston died from catastrophic blows to the head at their rural property south of Hobart.
Dr Weston’s son Nicolau Francisco Soares, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the couple on the grounds he was insane at the time.
Forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Lawrence has told the Tasmanian Supreme Court Prof Mooney’s injuries were probably caused by a combination of blows from a claw hammer and a blockbuster.
“There appeared to be at least 13 separate impacts to the head,” Dr Lawrence said.
A single blockbuster blow, or several with the hammer, to the back of the head that caused a massive skull fracture and vertebra damage would have been enough to cause death, he said.
Dr Weston received at least eight blows, one damaging the brain stem and probably causing her death.
The jury was shown graphic photos, CT scan images and diagrams produced during Dr Lawrence’s post mortem.
A chilling police walk-through video of the crime scene, at Mountain River 30km south of Hobart, showed two bodies slumped in the house’s TV room where a blood-stained blockbuster and broken hammer are seen on the floor.
A mental health report tabled from Soares’s home state of Western Australia indicated he had been involuntarily admitted for treatment three times between 2008 and 2010.
He remained a client of the service in 2012 and had been warned to organise medication that had run out, the report said.
Professor Mooney had commented on Soares’s health to the service in a phone conversation from Tasmania.
“It’s a rather mixed bag,” he said.
An Australian Defence Force report showed Soares had twice applied to join the army, the second time just a month before the killings in December 2012.
He did not reach the required score in an aptitude test, the report said.
Soares moved from Perth to Tasmania in the weeks before the deaths to live with his mother and her partner.
The couple had bought the property the year before.
Prof Mooney had been the head of health economics at Curtin University and also held positions in Sydney, Hobart, South Africa and Denmark.
Dr Weston specialised in the political economy of global warming and held university positions in South Africa and Tasmania.