19 Jul 2012

NSW govt clamps down on Kings Cross

4:48 pm on 19 July 2012

The New South Wales government has launched a sweeping investigation into every nightspot in King's Cross district in Sydney in a bid to tackle violence fuelled by alcohol.

There's been a public outcry over the killing of a teenager who was king hit as he walked along a street in the Cross on the night of Saturday, 7 July. The attack was unprovoked.

Thomas Kelly, 18, died in hospital when his life support was switched off the following Monday.

The ABC reports hundreds of people were at Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday night to debate the issue

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch says now is the time to fix the city's alcohol addiction.

"I'm going to cut straight to the chase and not muck around - it's the abuse and availability of alcohol ... that is the problem," he said to applause from the audience.

"Drugs are certainly an issue in Kings Cross, they have been historically," he added.

''I think more the problem is the combination of drugs and alcohol. Drugs is not the problem in Kings Cross ... alcohol's the problem.''

As he was speaking, inspectors were walking into Kings Cross bars to begin a major compliance audit of every licenced venue on the nightclub strip.

''That has commenced this evening at 6pm and will be undertaken over ensuing days,'' Hospitality Minister George Souris told the town hall meeting.

He says a management plan would also be developed for the Cross.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research says 86% of assaults in Kings Cross are alcohol-related.

Man charged with murder

Police have now charged a man with the murder of Mr Kelly.

Kieran Loveridge, 18, from Seven Hills, was arrested at Belmore Sports Ground in south-west Sydney on Wednesday night.

The ABC reports he was interviewed at Campsie Police Station and charged with murder. He was also charged with assault and bodily harm.

He was refused bail and was due to appear in Burwood Local Court on Thursday.