Mother of Thomas Kelly pleads: "It's time to make people accountable for what they do."

Thomas Kelly was ‘king hit’ in Sydney’s Kings Cross

“How many boys or how many of our children have to die before somebody does something to change these laws to make people accountable for what they do?”

Last Friday Kathy Kelly and her husband were clearly shocked at the sentence handed down to their son’s killer.

Today they might feel some small element of comfort at the news that Kieran Loveridge’s four-year jail term will be appealed against in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

Kathy Kelly’s son, Thomas was a victim of a horrific crime. One that shocked the nation with its instantaneous brutality.

An alcohol fueled king hit.

Thomas was eighteen years old, and out for a night in Kings Cross.

It was early in the night and he was minding his own business. A heavily intoxicated and violent 19-year-old named Kieran Loveridge punched him to the head with a “king hit”.

There was outrage after Kieran Loveridge was sentenced last Friday

The court heard that Loveridge, fuelled by several cans of Smirnoff double black vodka drinks and shots, prowled Kings Cross and told a friend “I swear I’m going to bash someone.”

Thomas went down, his head striking the pavement causing massive brain damage.

His Mother spoke about the final hours of his life in a speech at the launch of a foundation in his name aimed at stopping alcohol-fueled violence.

“He was very cold, he had his head shaved and there was a very large bandage that said ‘no bone’ on the front of his skull. That’s a very confronting thing to see when your 18-year-old son is lying there and you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.

We were told that we would have to turn off Thomas’ life support.

A lot of media said we made that decision but we didn’t make that decision. It was made for us when Thomas was punched.

At the very final hours of the day, on a Monday, we gathered together, just the four of us, and we just said goodbye to Thomas in our own way. It’s hard enough for Ralph and I as Thomas’ parents, but for his brother and sister seeing their beautiful big brother die in front of them was a very difficult thing to face and I’m sure it will affect them for the rest of their life.”


Police charged Loveridge with murder. In March this year, he offered to plead guilty to manslaughter.

It was naturally expected that he would receive a hefty prison term. However, the sentence of four years minimum jail handed down last Friday sparked immediate outrage from his family, friends, the media and politicians.


“I can’t tell you what it’s like to lose a child, 18 years old, who had his whole life in front of him and is considered meaningless by the state because this verdict is so shocking,” Thomas’ father, Ralph Kelly, said after the decision.

Thomas’ parents Ralph and Kathy Kelly almost immediately launched an online petition calling for a new offence to be created, that covers cases which fall between accidental killings and murder, and would have mandatory minimum sentences apply.

The sentence reignited debate about the sentencing of those convicted of manslaughter over a single, fatal punch.

Within days NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell pledged to introduce new laws specifically designed for “one-punch manslaughter” cases similar to those held in Western Australia.

Last night the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions announced that they would appeal the sentence on the grounds that it is “manifestly inadequate.”

The office also indicated that it would ask the state’s highest court to issue a so-called “guideline judgement”, setting out what it believes is the appropriate sentence for one-punch manslaughter cases in future.

Thomas Kelly’s parents have launched an online petition

The Kelly family have said “Whilst nothing can be done to change our son’s case, at least we can all make a difference for other families who will find themselves in our position. “

You can sign the Kelly families online petition here.