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‘Please be careful’: last words to a son killed in the Cross

By Nick Ralston


The distraught parents of Thomas Kelly speak about their ordeal, the friends who visited the teen as he lay unconscious in his hospital bed, and their son’s final words to them.

AFTER a difficult childhood, Thomas Kelly had turned his life around.

Bullied because he was quiet and small in stature, the 18-year-old had developed a passion for the gym.

After graduating from The Kings School last year he landed a cadetship with a major accounting firm, Hall Chadwick, and studied commerce at Macquarie University at night.

Thomas' grieving parents.

Thomas’s grieving parents, Ralph and Kathy Kelly.

He had built a life for himself in Sydney, living out of his father’s Mosman office before returning home to Bowral to be with family most weekends.

Finally feeling comfortable and confident, his attention turned to a young woman he worked with. Four weeks ago an office romance blossomed and Thomas had his first girlfriend.

But in a matter of minutes, just after 10pm on Saturday, the life Thomas had built for himself was taken away in a ”sickening and unprovoked” attack.

The teenager, his girlfriend and a female work colleague were walking down Victoria Street in Kings Cross holding hands when an unknown man king-hit him in the face as he talked on his mobile phone.

Victim ...  Thomas Kelly.

Thomas Kelly … died after he was attacked in Kings Cross.

Thomas fell to the ground, hitting his head on the footpath, resulting in serious head injuries.

He never regained consciousness and on Monday night died in St Vincent’s Hospital.

His attacker is alleged to have punched another man, randomly, only five minutes before.

It was Thomas’s first night out in the notorious nightclub precinct. Police said he was sober and the trio had been on their way to celebrate the 18th birthday of one of their work friends.

His father, Ralph Kelly, yesterday described his son as a ”courageous boy” and ”an unbelievable child” whose life was ”finally taking off”.

Thomas had only been in Kings Cross for two minutes, Mr Kelly said, when he was attacked.

”We didn’t want Thomas to go to Kings Cross that night, but you can’t tell an 18-year-old boy what he can do,” Mr Kelly said.

”The last words that both [his mother] Kathy and I said to him was ‘Please be careful, please take care. He said: ‘I will and I love you.’

”And that’s the last time we spoke to him.”

Mr Kelly and his wife yesterday made an emotional plea for anyone who might have information about who hit their son to come forward. They also said they had donated Thomas’s organs ”because we felt that his death should result in some life for other people”.

The couple had been watching a movie at home in Bowral on Saturday night when they received a call telling them to come to the hospital.

Along with their two younger children, Stuart and Madeleine, they arrived at midnight and saw their son three hours later after he had undergone surgery.

They spent the next day by his bedside as Thomas’s friends and work colleagues poured in and said their goodbyes before his life support was switched off on Monday night.

”It’s taken him 18 years to feel comfortable and loved and he finally had his feet on the ground and had a purpose in life and it’s gone,” Mrs Kelly said.

”We don’t want it to happen to anybody else, so if anybody, anybody, can come forward and say something to get this person off the streets so it doesn’t happen to another family, so nobody is ever in the position that we’re in,” she added.

”I’m assuming this person must have been either drunk or drugged … he knew he intended to punch our son … he was out to hurt people. If you have any remorse you need to come forward if you are to have a life.”

Police yesterday said they could not find a motive for the crime. There was no prior altercation between the two and it was not a robbery as Thomas’s wallet with a couple of hundred dollars inside and his iPhone had been left behind.

The attacker was described as being in his 20s, a solidly built Caucasian man, about 170 centimetres tall, with short brown hair. Police said the man he punched before Thomas suffered a cut above his eye but continued on his way.

”This was a sickening and unprovoked attack,” Kings Cross Superintendent Sue Waites said.

Security camera footage shows Thomas and the two girls walking down Victoria Street, all holding hands, only moments before he is punched. The attack itself is not caught on camera.

Police want anyone who might have seen the attacker, who was wearing a dark jumper and dark jeans, to come forward.

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