Thomas Kelly and Josie Talite
On the 7th July 2012, 18-year-old Thomas Kelly was on his way to Josie Talite's 18th birthday party at Kings Cross. He was walking hand-in-hand with his girlfriend on the street, excited about a fun night out with his friends, when he was fatally king-hit by a stranger. His heart-broken parents turned his life-support system off two days later.
Late on Wednesday this week, Crime Stoppers got an anonymous call from a teenage footballer who allegedly saw what happened that night. After an A-Grade Rugby League win at their western suburbs home ground, a small group headed to Kings Cross to celebrate. One of the players was Kieran Loveridge, an 18 year old part time salesman, estranged from his parents, and described by his friends as a 'couch surfer'.
The anonymous young informer said he was moved by the television footage of his parents Ralph and Kathy Kelly, good, decent people, who had to come to terms with knowing that their beloved son just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After the phone call, Loveridge was placed under surveillance and the Assistant Commissioner of Police gave him a chance to give himself up, thinking he could be feeling guilty and ready to come forward. He appealed to him via a news conference and said "It's only a matter of time before we come knocking at your door" but it didn't work, he had no intention of coming forward.
Detectives believe that Loveridge punched three other men that night in Kings Cross, all within the space of three hours. They spoke to other footballers who were with him that night, people he worked with and pored over his bank statements and phone records. But when they finally had enough evidence to arrest him, he couldn't be found.
Then they got another tip-off. Loveridge would be watching a training session of the Canberbury Bulldogs at Belmore oval and at 7.30pm on Wednesday night and that's where detectives arrested him and took him to Campsie police station. He was charged with one count of murder and three counts of assault. His football coach refused to comment.
After his court appearance yesterday, one of his mates, a stocky youth in a hoodie and sunglasses, lunged at Channel 9 cameraman Mario Conti who then fell to the ground. Witnesses said he hit his head as he fell on the concrete and he lay still, barely moving, until he was taken to Royal Prince Alfred hospital with head injuries. His attacker was taken to Burwood police station, charged with assault occasioning bodily harm, refused bail and will appear in Parramatta Children's Court today.
The Thomas Kelly murder has had a huge impact on everyone, especially parents. You can't stop teenagers wanting to go to Kings Cross, it's part of growing up. But there is no excuse for this mindless violence, bashing innocent kids for no reason, just for fun, and I hope the judge makes an example of this thug and puts him away for a very long time. But knowing how the judicial system treats young offenders these days, bending over backwards to give them another chance, justice may not be done the way we would like it to be.
Thomas Kelly's funeral was held today at The Kings School chapel, North Parramatta.