Killer ‘addicted’ to violence to die in jail
ANTHONY Richard Dent had killed before but when he beat, stripped and hogtied Tony O'Grady and stuffed the victim's underpants down his throat, he boasted about the thrill by text.
It was 11.26am on March 26, 2014, just hours after Dent had lured Mr O'Grady to a park on the promise of a party with alcohol and girls.
Dent's text, to an unknown female recipient, said "Thank u darlin. U have a lovely day, whats left of it and smile that beautiful smile of ur's.
"I'm feeling so good I might belt another maggot as its addictive feeling like this. Ha ha. Tony x"
It could never be revealed at his trial that Mr O'Grady's brutal killing was in fact Dent's third murder.
And Dent's behaviour and bravado during the trial shows he revels in being seen as the most violent man around.
But in fact the 56-year-old has always gone for easy targets, heavily drunk men who were either homeless or sleeping rough.
Dent's first murders, committed when he was 17, were of two park drinkers just metres from where he killed Tony O'Grady 27 years later.
Dent got $50 out of the double murder and $500 from killing Tony O'Grady, who was known to carry money and had just come into an inheritance.
Dent and two other men were after money to buy the drug ice, and targeted Mr O'Grady when he had consumed at least 20 stubbies of beer and some Jim Beam.
They left Mr O'Grady for dead, half naked with a head injury and tightly gagged.
The victim's breathing was further restricted by the underpants in his throat, a blood-alcohol level of .183 and his nose pushed into the ground.
Despite serving a double life sentence for his first murders, Dent had been released from prison and returned to the same beat he was familiar with as a teenager to lure Mr O'Grady.
But that is unlikely to happen again.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has just rejected Dent's appeal against his 42-year sentence, with a non-parole period of 32 years.
Dent will have to live to the age of 88 years before he can apply for release.
The details of Mr O'Grady's murder and Dent's remorseless attitude in the aftermath were recorded in the appeals court judgment.
Crown Prosecutor: "How long did you feel so good about belting Mr O'Grady, as you boasted to this 'darlin' whoever she is?"
Dent: "Well, probably for the moment I wrote it."
Crown: "You said it was 'addictive feeling like this'?"
Dent: "Knocking people out is pretty addictive, you know."
Crown: "Is it?".
Dent: "Oh well, I have done it a number of times, yes. I believe it can be addictive, yes."
Dent told prosecutors that of the two other males involved in the fatal bashing, one physically large man was "not as violent as me" and that "no one dominates me".
Dent's tough man attitude extended to his bashing two co-accused in the dock of the NSW Supreme Court.
As he was removed from the court, he yelled out to the judge, "you look at me again and I'll rip your f ***ing face off".
Dent has spent most of his adult life in prison since he killed Ronald Hamilton, 55, and Allan Sichter, 51, at Passmore Oval, Wickham Park on the night of October 20, 1977.
Around 8pm, the two men were drinking behind a shed.
Dent later boasted in a pool hall that he had "I just bashed an old drunkie and I got 50 dollars off him".
But when the two men's bodies were found, Dent claimed the pair had accosted him and he had defended himself.
However, a post mortem found Mr Hamilton had suffered a broken sternum, 16 rib fractures and had died from a traumatic rupture of the heart because he had been punched so hard.
Mr Sichter neck and larynx had been broken by sustained blows, and that Dent likely jumped up and down on them.
Dent's double life sentence for the murders was redetermined under Truth in Sentencing laws and after his release he established a reputation as a hard man.
He went back into jail for a series of armed robberies, but was freed again in late 2013, three months before he would meet and murder Tony O'Grady.
Mr O'Grady, 52, was sharing a house in Hamilton and had boasted of getting hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in inheritance following the death of his mother.
Two men known only during the murder trial as JM and RC, another man and Anthony Dent hatched a plan to rob Mr O'Grady.
On March 25, 2014, JM said to Mr O'Grady "if you come down to the park tonight, you've got the beer, the alcohol, there's going to be plenty of girls there".
JM accompanied Mr O'Grady to Hamilton cellars where CCTV shows him buying a 700ml bottle of Jim Beam.
JM, Dent and a woman accompanied Mr O'Grady to Wickham Park where they were met by RC.
It was around 8pm. Dent was high on ice. As Mr O'Grady rolled a cigarette, Dent struck his head.
Mr O'Grady fell to the ground unconscious, whereupon Dent removed his clothing below the waist and stuffed the victim's underpants into his mouth as a gag.
Dent then hogtied Mr O'Grady's wrists and legs behind his back with a rope.
RC, JM, Dent and another man then robbed Mr O'Grady of his possessions and left.
The following morning, a man walking his dog found Mr O'Grady's bound and partially clothed body.
After a week of investigations, Newcastle police focused their search for the killers on Anthony Dent and placed him on the most wanted list.
Dent disappeared, but on April 20, they tracked him down to nearby Cessnock and swooped on him as he entered a suburban back yard.
Anthony Thomas O'Grady was found to have died from n acute right subdural haematoma from a blow to the head with asphyxiation as a contributing factor.
At his trial for Mr O'Grady's murder, Justice Robert Hulme ruled Dent's two earlier murders as inadmissable.
But when the jury found him guilty of murdering Mr O'Grady, Judge Hulme revealed Dent's past.
Later it emerged that Dent had threatened RC with coming "back after all of us so he had no witnesses", the Newcastle Herald reported.
Dent had punched a man in Long Bay prison yard for being a "dog" [prison informant] and "dogging Tony".
JM later said that Dent had insisted he be involved in Mr O'Grady's robbery, and even during Mr O'Grady's murder, Dent had threatened him.
During pre-trial argument Dent punched RC and JM in the dock and yelled, "f*** off. If I see you again you fat dog I'll kill both of you".
Both men were prepared to give evidence against Dent and pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Dent had told JM during Mr O'Grady's murder that "I've already done two life sentences, I'm not afraid to go back to jail."
Anthony Richard Dent was sentenced in April last year and lost his appeal this week. He is being held in maximum security.