An armed robber who posed as a flower delivery man before tying up two sisters and ransacking their home has been sentenced to at least two years in jail.
Kyrillos Ghaly was an active member of his Coptic Christian community in Sydney and a model student when he graduated from high school in 2005.
But after relocating to Adelaide to study dentistry his life went into a downward spiral, Judge Anthony Blackmore told Sydney’s District Court on Friday.
He moved into a share house where his flatmates were taking drugs, dropped out of university and accumulated debts with loan sharks.
Then in November 2012, Ghaly armed himself with knives and broke into a home in Sylvania Waters in Sydney’s south and another in Minchinbury in the city’s west.
At Minchinbury, the court heard Ghaly posed as a ‘Roses Only’ flower delivery man, telling the two sisters that the blooms were for “finishing your HSC”.
Once inside, he tied the two girls up and stole jewellery and cash from their home, before saying “All right, it’s been fun”, as he left.
At the Sylvania robbery, the court heard Ghaly held a knife to his victim’s neck, telling him: “If you speak out of turn I will slit your throat”.
He later turned to the man and said: “I’m sorry for what I have put you through, I wish we could have met under better circumstances”.
Judge Blackmore said the robberies had clearly been terrifying for the victims and involved a degree of planning by Ghaly.
He said the 27-year-old had since undergone extensive rehabilitation, had entered an early guilty plea and was clearly contrite for what he had done.
Ghaly, who is now studying physiotherapy, previously told the court that he was on drugs at the time of the offences.
Judge Blackmore sentenced him to a maximum of four years for two counts of armed robbery and one count of break and enter.
Taking into consideration time served, he is eligible for parole in July 2015.