As the Kelly family prepares to bury its second teenage son in four years there are reports that cruel cyber bullying was the trigger for 18-year-old Stuart Kelly to take his own life.
Stuart was just 14 when his brother and “best friend” Thomas Kelly died after a random coward punch attack in Kings Cross in 2012. It was perpetrated by a drunk Kieran Loveridge.
Since the senseless loss of 19-year-old Thomas the Kelly family began the Kelly Foundation and have been campaigning for stricter laws for alcohol related violence in NSW.
On Tuesday Dr Tim Hawkes, headmaster at The King’s School where Stuart once attended, made the announcement that Stuart’s body had been found dead on the Northern Beaches. Since then reports have surfaced speculating Stuart had been tormented by online trolls furious about Sydney’s lockout laws.
According to the Daily Telegraph “close family friends” of the former King’s School prefect said he was the “victim of bullying, torment and endless hate mail as a result of the lockout laws’ enactment.”
The newspaper suggested Stuart tried to get on with life despite the abuse. He took up a role as a rugby coach at school and worked hard to gain a position to study marine biology at Sydney University. But the pressure got to him.
Stuart spent just two days at Sydney Uni this year before withdrawing from his course.
According to the Tele St Paul’s College executive manager Derek Watt yesterday said he was unaware of any allegations of bullying while Stuart was in residence.
“I have absolutely no knowledge of bullying,” he said. “We are deeply distressed at what has happened.”
Stuart only spent one night at the college and Mr Watt said the school would have carried out an investigation if a formal complaint was made.
Ralph Kelly took to Facebook on Wednesday to express his heartache.
"The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained", Ralph wrote on Facebook.
There is no doubt Ralph and his wife Kelly were proud of their youngest son. Stuart was “too young” to speak right after his brother’s death but last year the young man delivered a rousing address to a media pack after the sentencing hearing for their son’s killer.
"I carry a deep scar that you cannot see. It's always there, never leaves. It's just below the surface of your skin, and surfaces when you least expect it,” Stuart told the crowd.
“Tom never deserved to die that night, it was not meant to be his time. In fact, I believe now that it could and should have been avoided. Our family lost a son and a brother. I ask all of you to look at me, I am but one person who has been affected by violence.
“It is a sentence that I have to carry for the rest of my life. My mother, father and sister now carry this sentence. Our relatives and friends, Tom's friends, carry this sentence.
“We are not alone, there are many many thousands of other who are directly affected by senseless violence every year. Premier (Mike Baird) will you make this promise tonight?
“Australia is an alcoholic. We need to rethink the way we drink."
Words so powerful they will surely shape anyone’s memory of the young man.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Video: Thomas Kelly’s younger brother Stuart delivers a stirring message at Take Kare gala dinner.