29-year-old Thomas Kelson, who pleaded guilty to the murder of 17-year-old Cayleb Hough just days before the commencement of his trial,  has been sentenced to 24 years behind bars, with a non-parole period of 19 years.

Cayleb Hough’s body was found in a disused mine shaft in the Lerderderg State Park in March of 2016, approximately three months after his disappearance. Tests revealed that he died from blunt force trauma, with his jaw broken in two places.

When handing down the sentence yesterday in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Andrew Tinney commented on Kelson’s “brutal and completely unnecessary crime”, telling him “you killed a young person who was a friend of yours.”

The court heard that Kelson and Hough had met at a house party in the suburb of Skye before the teen’s disappearance in December of 2015. There, they consumed drugs and alcohol together before going to another residence in Collingwood.

It was here where the initial assault occurred, and the court heard that Kelson struck Hough and cut him with a kitchen knife while “ranting and raving”, falsely accusing the teen of raping and killing his father and telling him “you’re going to die today.”

Hough was then bound and gagged with duct tape and placed in a car – Kelson’s lawyers claimed that he had intended to take the boy to hospital, but the court rejected, saying he intended to murder the boy and dispose of his body.

Kelson then travelled to the state park in a convoy with another car. On the journey, Hough kicked him in the back of the head, causing him to go “ballistic” and attack the teen with a set of knuckle dusters, in the assault that eventually killed him.

The courtroom erupted in applause when the sentence was handed down, with relatives of the deceased calling Kelson “filth” and “scum” as he was led away. He will be eligible for parole in 2037.

Source: 9 News