South Australia’s notorious “bicycle bandit”, accused of carrying out armed hold-ups over a decade, has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of aggravated robbery.

In SA’s Supreme Court on Monday, victims have described their ongoing trauma and suffering as a result of being targeted in armed bank robberies carried out by Kym Allen Parsons.

Parsons is accused of carrying out armed bank robberies in small South Australian towns between 2004 and 2014, often making his escape on a bike.

The 73-year-old changed his plea to guilty for possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing a firearm without a licence, and attempted aggravated robbery.

The court heard Parsons stole a total of $358,976.90 during the hold-ups and would repay the full amount.

The hold-ups occurred at bank branches throughout towns within an hour or two of Adelaide — including at Mannum, Lobethal, Tanunda, Yankalilla, Balaklava, Willunga and Mt Pleasant, which Parsons ambushed three times.

He was arrested last year after an investigation stretching back almost two decades.

Victims recall ‘sheer terror’

One victim recalled the “terrifying and traumatic experience” of being robbed at gunpoint, and said her response was one of “sheer terror”.

“I want him to know how much trauma he has caused to the people and families involved in the multiple bank robberies and what they have lived with for the last 20 years and will continue to live with while he has been free,” she said.

The victim said she developed an auto-immune disease which causes her to experience “immense pain” shortly after the robbery, which her doctors said was likely brought upon by stress.

Multiple victims also expressed struggles with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

The ‘bicycle bandit’ was responsible for armed robberies at banks across small South Australian towns from 2004 to 2014. (Supplied)

“I have trouble sleeping, trouble trusting people and have had my enjoyment for work changed forever,” another victim said.

“For the past 15 years, I have experienced a world of emotions — I feel anger, rage, sadness, fear, anxiety, hatred, bitterness and more. I’ve battled depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and constant flashbacks and at times I felt suicidal, as the trauma became too much reliving that fateful day when you pulled a gun to my face,” a third victim said.

“I had to rely on medication just to cope with daily life.

“I can’t fathom how one person can inflict so much pain without remorse.”

Parsons was overcome with emotion as he apologised to the victims.

“I want to sincerely apologise for the trauma I have caused each of you,” he said.

He said he had read each one of the 15 victim impact statements — of which 12 were read aloud in court — “several times”.

“You all had the right to feel safe at work, at home and in the community and my selfish actions took that from you,” he said.

“I have no excuse for my behaviour — my reasoning was illogical and irrational over that time, and over the past 10 years I have tried to rehabilitate, seek help and forgiveness but I could never escape my shame and distressing actions.”

He said no-one — not even his wife or other family members — were aware of his offending.

“I was fearful of confessing my past and destroying their love and trust in the person they knew and believed me to be,” he said.

“I wish I could change the past for all of us, but obviously that’s not possible. I hope by pleading guilty, confessing to the bank robberies, return the money stolen and offer my extreme sorrow to you … will bring you some closure, and in time, an opportunity to heal.

“I do not expect your forgiveness, and I humbly ask you accept my sincerest apology and deepest remorse.”

Justice McDonald said copies of the apology would be made available to the victims.

‘Offences were planned, well-organised’

Parsons, who has stage 4 cancer, had previously pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

He was granted home detention in October 2023 after a court heard he had lost 7 kilograms while in custody.

Defence lawyer James Marcus said his client’s health and prognosis was poor.

“He pleaded guilty today to bring closure to the families and victims of the offending,” Mr Marcus said.

Victims of the bank robberies told the court the trauma they experienced was long-lasting.(Supplied)

Mr Marcus asked the court for Parsons, a former police officer and firefighter, to remain on bail.

The court heard his pleas meant he was eligible for a 25 per cent discount on sentence, but that it was likely he would die in jail.

Karen Ingleton, prosecuting, said the impact of the offending on each of the victims was “significant”, and that a shot had been fired during one of the hold-ups.

“The offences were planned, well-organised, terrifying,” she said.

“These are probably an example of some of the most serious bank robberies in South Australia.”

Ms Ingleton said Parsons should be considered a serious repeat offender who must serve 80 per cent of any head sentence imposed.

She asked his bail be revoked.

A District Court judge previously accepted the prosecution’s application to freeze his assets, including five bank accounts and his O’Sullivan Beach property worth more than $1 million.

Parsons has had his bail conditions revoked and will be sentenced on June 28.

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