Court hears of orphan's sad life

A Russian boy adopted from an orphanage went on to become a "one-man crime spree" in New Zealand, a judge said as he jailed the 22-year-old for his latest offending.

The Christchurch District Court sentencing session heard about the sad life of Alexei Nickavick Kelly who is struggling with drugs and alcohol, low self-esteem and authority issues.

"Alcohol is clearly a way of screening out the loss of his parents," said defence counsel Clare Yardley.

He was removed from an orphanage in Russia at age two. His father had died of alcohol-induced hypothermia in a snowstorm and his mother was in jail.

"She has been released but he has never been able to make contact with her," Yardley said.

There were nine in the family and three came to New Zealand and were placed with a family that physically and mentally punished them, she said. "He suffered abuse throughout his formative years."

Kelly got work in the construction industry, and the fishing industry in Nelson. He also lived in Ashburton and Alexandra.

From 2009, he began amassing a serious history of criminal offending. He had become a "one-man crime spree", Judge Michael Crosbie said.

He had four pages listing his convictions, including some for serious offending. He had 17 convictions for dishonesty, including 11 burglaries. He had received sentences of community work, intensive supervision, home detention, and imprisonment.

Kelly had been remanded in custody for sentence on charges of burglary, wilful damage, attempting to pervert the course of justice, breach of his bail, and breach of release conditions.

In Christchurch in November, Kelly stood on the bonnet of a car in a car sales yard and then kicked the windscreen, breaking it and causing $1224 damage. He gave the name and date of birth of his brother and the charge was laid in that name.

Yardley said that when he jumped on the vehicle, he had his brother's ID so that he could get into hotels, and he gave those details to police because he was drunk.

The ruse was discovered when Kelly didn't turn up for a court appearance and the officer who followed up found that the photograph did not match the alleged offender.

On January 8, about 3am, Kelly tried opening car doors in Memorial Ave and eventually found one unlocked along a driveway and stole a box of alcohol.

She said Kelly felt his offending was diminishing but acknowledged that he was struggling.

He wanted to attend the Drug Treatment Unit in Paparua Prison "to get on top on top of his alcohol and drug problem".

The judge described Kelly as struggling with authority since being adopted from Russia. Substance abuse issues appeared to be related to his birth parents.

He was estranged from his adopted family because of his anti-social behaviour, and he had low self-esteem and a strong sense of failure because of his childhood issues.


Kelly was jailed for two years and four months and ordered him to pay $1244 for the damage he did to the car.

The Press