A photo of Rhys Kelly taken when his son was a baby was posted on a Facebook tribute page. (Facebook: RIP Rhys Kelly)
A Perth man who fatally stabbed his former brother-in-law because he thought he was supplying drugs to his teenage children has been jailed for life with a 19-year minimum term.
- Shane Josephs stabbed Rhys Kelly one time through the neck at his front door
- He was convicted of murder, with a judge saying he had a violent record
- Mr Kelly’s mother was traumatised by the murder, moving out of the family home
Shane Frederick James Josephs was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of murdering 25-year-old Rhys Kelly at his home in Ferndale in Perth’s south on the night of April 3 last year.
The court was told Josephs was drinking at his father’s house when he decided to confront Mr Kelly, who was the brother of his former partner but who he had not seen for years.
He armed himself with a fishing knife and when Mr Kelly opened the front door of his house, Josephs asked him what his name was.
He replied “Rhys” and almost immediately Josephs stabbed him once in the neck before going to his car and leaving the scene.
Mr Kelly ran to a neighbour’s house but died shortly after.
After leaving the scene, Josephs bought a can of beer from a drive-through bottle shop before returning to his father’s house.
Killer had prior record of violence
At his trial Josephs maintained he had not intended to kill Mr Kelly, claiming he had only gone to the house to threaten him and tell him to stay away from his children.
Justice Stephen Hall found his explanations were lies, finding instead that Josephs had intended to inflict a fatal injury on the 25-year-old.
“The knife was a sharp and dangerous weapon, used to inflict an injury to a vulnerable part of the body,” he said.
“It was a deliberate blow and intended to be fatal.”
Justice Hall said Josephs “had a disposition for violence” and he had been jailed before for assaulting people.
Mother mourns her ‘happy-go-lucky’ son
The murder was witnessed by Mr Kelly’s mother, Eileen, who sobbed in court as the sentence was handed down.
Eileen Kelly said she had since moved out of her home due to the trauma of the stabbing. (ABC News: Joanna Menagh)
Outside the court, Ms Kelly welcomed the sentence but said nothing would bring back her son, who was the father of a five-year-old boy.
Mr Kelly described Rhys as “a happy-go-lucky, bubbly” person who was protective of her.
“I still try and work it out now why he opened the door that night. I think it was to protect me,” she said.
Mrs Kelly said she had since moved out of the house because she had found it too traumatic to live where her son was murdered.
With time already served, Josephs will be first eligible for release in April 2036.