Warning: This post discusses suicide and may be triggering for some readers.
The parents of Stuart Kelly – the younger brother of one-punch victim Thomas Kelly who suicided after starting university in 2016 – believe their son was the victim of “catastrophic” treatment that likely contributed to his death.
“He was one of the really popular kids [at high school], and he went off to university at Sydney, for one night at a college, and he came home a different person the following day. You know, it just changed him, he was broken,” Stuart’s mother, Kathy Kelly told Channel 9’s 60 Minutes on Sunday.
“We hadn’t seen him cry since Thomas died," she continued, "so to see he was just sobbing, uncontrollably, and he came home and he went into his room and he basically didn’t come out for the next couple of months, so you can only assume that something catastrophic happened to him that made him feel the way he did.”
Stuart Kelly was 14 years old when his older brother, Thomas Kelly, was killed in a one-punch attack in Sydney's Kings Cross in 2012. Following his brother's death, Stuart went on to campaign heavily against alcohol-fuelled violence and to support the work of the Thomas Kelly Foundation.
The Kelly family's campaigning, coupled with the death of one-punch attack victim Daniel Christie in 2013, eventually led to the controversial lockout laws being introduced by the NSW government the following year.
The public campaigning saw Stuart's public profile rise and sadly, often made him the target of bullying.