Sentenced doubled for Thomas Kelly's coward punch killer

Thomas Kelly's mother Kathy and younger brother Stuart outside court after his killer's sentence was doubled. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Thomas Kelly's mother Kathy and younger brother Stuart outside court after his killer's sentence was doubled. Photo: Brendan Esposito

The jail sentence given to the Seven Hills youth who killed teenager Thomas Kelly with a single punch during a spree of assaults in Kings Cross has been doubled from five years, two months to 10 years after an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Former The King's School student Kelly suffered catastrophic head injuries during  an unprovoked attack from Kieran Loveridge  on July 7, 2012.

Loveridge's  original sentence, handed down by Justice Stephen Campbell on November 7, included four other assaults he inflicted on other young men on the same night.

On Friday, as Kelly's mother cried quietly in court, that sentence was almost doubled. The Chief Justice Tom Bathurst declared Loveridge would serve a non-parole period of 10  years.  

The court increased Loveridge's sentence on the manslaughter charge from four years to seven years. It also substantially increased the sentences he was given for the four other drunken assaults he committed on the same night.

Kieran Loveridge is led from court after his original sentencing. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Kieran Loveridge is led from court after his original sentencing. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The net effect is that the youth's sentence has been increased from just over five years to just over 10 years.

The original sentence generated a furious response from the dead teenagers' parents. The crime   also began a wave of momentum to address alcohol-related violence which resulted in the introduction of strict mandatory sentences in NSW.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the decision, advancing seven separate grounds of appeal, including that Justice Campbell ignored the need to deter others from behaving in the same way.

Speaking outside court, Ralph Kelly of Pendle Hill said he and his family were relieved.

"It's difficult - there is no celebration today," he told reporters, flanked by his wife and his other son, Stuart.

"You can’t balance a life with years in jail. It’s very bitter sweet as we’re three days away from the anniversary of Thomas’ death."

Speaking about his brother's death for the first time, Stuart Kelly said he had tried to understand why Thomas lost his life but couldn't come up with any answers.

"I miss all the things that brothers do together, throwing a ball, laughing, joking playing,” the 16-year-old said.

"I want Thomas’ short life to see meaning in his death - a culture where we accept responsibility for our actions, and not where we blame on the past  ... It’s totally unacceptable in our society.

"I can tell you first hand that to experience this kind of pain at such a young age is just…it’s just too hard." 

Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott said he was disappointed at the sentence handed down to Kieran Loveridge on appeal.

Mr Elliott said the court had clearly determined that Loveridge’s acts of violence were premeditated and the sentence betrayed the community’s expectations.

‘‘Thomas Kelly was one of many fine young men who were leaders within my local community,’’ Mr Elliott said.

‘‘The failure of the court to adequately address the nature of his senseless murder has left my community feeling shocked and dismayed.

‘‘I have already been contacted my local residents who have expressed their anger and frustration at the lack of understanding by the court at the level of outrage in the community at Loveridge’s actions.

‘‘It is time for the judiciary to be more realistic in sentencing those convicted of violent and predatory crimes, rather than relying on theories from academics.’’

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