Jean Eric Gassy is a deregistered medical
practitioner who was convicted in October 2004 of the murder on 14
October 2002 of Dr. Margaret Tobin, then the head of government mental
health services in South Australia. Dr Tobin was shot four times as
she was walking away from the lift that she had taken to the eighth
floor of the office in which she worked.
Gassy was struck off in 1997 after being diagnosed
with a delusional disorder and refusing to comply with conditions
placed on his registration. Gassy's motive was that the person who
initiated that deregistration process - by first raising his
eligibility to be a psychiatrist — was Dr Tobin, his former boss.
Gassy was later found to possess a "hit list" of doctors involved in
his deregistration, as well as a HIV specialist who refused to treat
him after the delusional former doctor became convinced he had
contracted the virus.
Gassy was originally sentenced to life imprisonment
for the murder. However, on 14 May 2008 both his conviction and
sentence were quashed by the High Court of Australia following an
appeal during which Gassy had represented himself. The High Court
noted that "the trial judge's directions to a jury deadlocked after a
day and a half of deliberations lacked neutrality, causing a
substantial miscarriage of justice."
Gassy's retrial on the same charge took place in
April 2009 and he was convicted on the 6th May 2009.
The Dr Margaret Tobin Awards were established in
2004 to publicly recognise people or organisations that have made an
outstanding contribution to mental health in South Australia.
In October 2006, the Margaret Tobin Centre, a 40
bed "state of the art" mental health inpatient centre was constructed
on the grounds of the Flinders Medical Centre. The centre also took
over management of the existing 15 bed unit specialising in weight and
anxiety disorders located in the hospital.
Gassy found guilty of Tobin murder
September 23, 2004
A jury in Adelaide has found a deregistered Sydney
psychiatrist guilty of murdering the head of the South Australian
mental health unit almost two years ago.
Margaret Tobin was shot four times with a
semi-automatic handgun as she walked out of a lift in her inner city
As staff worked frantically to try and keep Mrs
Tobin alive, the gunman escaped.
The aftermath included a massive manhunt, and it
caused chaos on Adelaide's streets.
Today, after a two-month trial, a jury found Jean
Eric Gassy guilty of her murder.
Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.
Former psychiatrist Jean Eric Gassy closed his eyes
as the guilty verdict was read out to Adelaide Supreme Court. He stood
hands clasped and briefly looked out at the gallery before averting
his gaze to the ground.
Margaret Tobin's mother Jean says while the verdict
gives her family some relief, they can never fully recover from the
"Margaret's death will always be a tremendous loss
to our family, and we'll continue to miss her terribly."
Dr Tobin was an internationally renowned
psychiatrist and head of South Australia's mental health service when
she was shot at close range as she walked out of a lift in her office
building on October 14th, 2002.
No one saw the gunman, and as a result police had
to painstakingly piece together volumes of circumstantial evidence
that pointed to one of Dr Tobin's former work colleagues, 48-year-old
The prosecution argued that Gassy killed Dr Tobin
in a meticulously planned execution as an act of vengeance after
almost a decade of blaming her for his deregistration as a
Police found in Gassy's wallet a list of doctors
written on the back of a railway ticket. The prosecution argued this
was a list of people Gassy blamed for his personal, professional and
financial ruin. The top of the ticket had been ripped off. All that
was left was the letter M.
Gassy, who pleaded not guilty and represented
himself at trial, argued it was a case of mistaken identity. He
peppered his defence with bizarre statements that "being murdered is
an occupational hazard for psychiatrists" and that Dr Tobin was killed
by someone from the secret underground of lesbianism in Adelaide.
Margaret Tobin's husband Don Scott says it was an
immense relief when he realised the jury had rejected Gassy's version
Jean Eric Gassy
Dr Margaret Julie Tobin, 50.