The man responsible for killing Thomas Kelly in a “cowardly and unprovoked” one-punch attack which triggered Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, has been granted parole. 

Kieran Loveridge, 30, will be released from prison in the coming weeks, after spending 12 years behind bars, under strict conditions that include a ban on drinking alcohol and from entering the City of Sydney LGA, which includes Kings Cross, where he fatally struck 18-year-old Kelly in 2012. Loveridge will also be required to continue taking part in a violent offender’s program. 

His impending release comes as the family of Kelly heard during the parole hearing yesterday that Loveridge had been drunk inside prison, and become “intoxicated and aggressive” in February this year.

A Community Corrections report from March last year, when Loveridge was denied parole, said he had committed multiple offences of misconduct while in jail, some of which included violence, but that there had been some recent improvement in his behaviour.

Outside court, victims advocate and lawyer Howard Brown said on behalf of Kelly’s parents: “In relation to the incident with alcohol as late as February, they’re devastated.” 

Kelly’s mother and father were not in the country and joined the hearing via audio-visual link from their home abroad. 

Ralph Kelly told the court through a written statement: “I do not support the intention to release (Mr Loveridge), but I also do not oppose release.  

“For Thomas’ death to mean something, it is imperative to make sure every effort is made to make sure Mr Loveridge’s transition to community life is as smooth as possible.” 

Kathy Kelly spoke of the “double life sentence” her family had received.  

I can’t see him lasting two years without breaching [his parole].

“We lost our beautiful son Thomas … Four years later, our child Stuart took his own life as a result of the loss of his older brother. He was only 14 years old when Tom was killed. 

“Our family may never find forgiveness for Mr Loveridge, the only outcome we can hope for is he will complete his parole and live a lawful life. Madeline and Ralph and I continue to grieve every day for our two boys.”

Loveridge joined his parole proceeding via audio-visual link from Broken Hill Correctional Centre. His partner supported him, watching the hearing in person at Parramatta’s court complex. 

Loveridge was sentenced to 13 years and eight months jail, with a non-parole period of 10 years and two months, for a string of violent offences he committed on one night in 2012, which included the deadly punch to Kelly. 

That attack and a series of other highly publicised incidents of violence led to calls for a tightening of late night licensing, resulting in the introduction of controversial lock-out laws in Sydney in 2014 that set last drinks at 3am and prevented bars taking in new customers from 1.30am. The laws affecting an area covering Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and the Sydney CBD were repealed in 2020 and 2021, due to the impact on the local economy and criticism it had killed off the City’s nightlife.

Last year, the state parole authority denied Mr Loveridge parole, as his release was deemed “not appropriate”, in the interest of public safety. 

Outside Paramatta District Court, Brown told the media he believed Loveridge would breach his parole conditions and have a difficult time integrating back into the community. 

“I do not particularly look forward to the time where we have to make an application for an extended supervision order for Mr Loveridge, but I believe that will be the final result in relation to this matter, because I can’t see him lasting two years without breaching (his parole),” he said. 

Main images of Kieran Loveridge and Thomas Kelly supplied.