Monday, August 17, 2015

What drives a dad to murder his sons? (Australia)

We've reported on killer dad ROBERT FARQUHARSON before.

What drives a dad to murder his sons? 

This story was published: 10 days ago August 08, 2015 12:16PM

NO ONE saw it coming. To friends and family Robert Farquharson was “poor Rob”, a short, chubby, unassuming and not overly bright country bloke who moped around the small Victorian town of Winchelsea after his wife left him.

Farquharson had appeared to be coping with the separation and getting on with his life. Then his car veered off the highway near town into a large dam, 10 years ago this Father’s Day. He escaped unhurt but his sons, Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, drowned.

When it emerged that this was no accident, friends and family were stunned. Even his estranged wife, Cindy Gambino, refused to believe that the seemingly meek and mild Farquharson was capable of murder.

It wasn’t until Farquharson’s second trial, which again found him guilty, that Cindy finally accepted that Farquharson had intentionally killed all of their children. Some Winchelsea locals still believe it was a tragic accident.

We all struggle to understand when someone who appears “normal” commits such a cold-blooded act. Robert Farquharson was the archetypal country bumpkin who worked as a labourer with the local council, volunteered at the local school and enjoyed hanging out with children.

The idea of his leaving his boys to drown was incomprehensible. But when you consider Farquharson’s personality disorder and background, it is not so surprising.

The youngest of four children, Farquharson was small for his age and grew up protected by siblings and his late mother, Faye. Genetic factors also appear to have contributed to his developing an avoidant personality disorder (AvPD).

An AvPD is a pervasive pattern of behaviour characterised by social inhibition and lack of social confidence, feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.

Farquharson couldn’t cope with adult responsibility. He mocked and antagonised his family, publicly lost his temper when he could not work machinery or tools, and let Cindy do most of the work and make most of the decisions. He used her as a protective shield.

When Cindy asked him to leave, Farquharson moved in with his father, seeking sympathy from many locals and blaming her for the marriage breakdown.

Outwardly he was moving on, but inwardly Farquharson seethed. Due to his AvPD he chose to be dependent on Cindy, but this also made him resentful. When she befriended another man, his rage quietly grew to the point where he plotted one of the world’s worst cases of family violence.

As this terrible tragedy showed, domestic violence is complex and many factors can contribute. Personality disorders often play a significant role and most people don’t realise how dangerous some people with one of these entrenched behaviour patterns can be.

Gerard Baden-Clay is another classic case of a murderer with a personality disorder. The Brisbane real estate agent appeared to be the perfect husband, father and small businessman — until he killed his wife, Allison, in April, 2012.

A great-grandson of Scouts founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Baden-Clay was president of the Kenmore Chamber of Commerce, ran Scout groups, supported the local school’s chaplaincy program and doted on his three daughters.

He actively promoted an image of himself as a successful and upstanding businessman, but it was far removed from the reality of his life. When Baden-Clay was charged with Allison’s murder, most Australians were stunned. But they shouldn’t have been.

Privately, Baden-Clay had spent years deliberately chipping away at Allison’s confidence, cheating with multiple women, big-noting himself in business and borrowing big money from friends when his franchise began to fail and incur massive debts.

His narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) meant he felt justified in fabricating a false image and doing or taking what he wanted, even if it hurt others.

An NPD is a pervasive pattern of behaviour characterised by an excessive need for admiration, inflated views of oneself not backed up by reality, exploitation of others, a strong sense of entitlement and marked arrogance.

Baden-Clay displayed these characteristics and was not as clever as he thought. His story that Allison had wandered off overnight, ending up in a creek 13 kilometres away, was unconvincing and he was convicted of her murder in 2014.

Yesterday lawyers for Baden-Clay argued that his conviction for the murder of his wife should be quashed on the grounds it was ‘unreasonable’. The three judges will give a written judgment, expected within three months.

Simon Gittany also had a false exterior masking something much more sinister — in his case an anti-social personality disorder (ASPD). An ASPD is a pervasive pattern of behaviour characterised by a disregard for and violation of the rights of other people coupled with a lack of remorse.

In public Gittany played the loving partner of his Canadian fiancee, Lisa Harnum. But he had a long criminal record for assault, theft and drug-dealing. He secretly spied on Lisa, controlled her every move and alienated her from her friends and her family in Canada.

When Lisa tried to leave in July, 2011, Gittany threw her from the balcony of their fifteenth floor Sydney CBD apartment and claimed she had suddenly climbed over. Judge Lucy McCallum disagreed and found him guilty of murder.

These perpetrators all had a personality disorder and their dysfunctional pattern of behaviour towards their partners was rigid, lacking in empathy and focused only on their own needs. In each case the results were deadly.