South Australia’s notorious “bicycle bandit” has been handed a 35-year sentence for a series of armed bank robberies, but will serve very little time in prison.

Kym Allen Parsons was sentenced in South Australia’s Supreme Court and given a non-parole period of 28 years. 

The sentencing was brought forward so Parsons, who has stage 4 cancer, could access voluntary assisted dying.

The court heard his death was imminent.

Last week, the 73-year-old admitted to carrying out the armed robberies in various locations in regional South Australia between 2004 and 2014.

He was dubbed the “bicycle bandit” because he sometimes fled the scene of the crime on a bicycle. 

Justice Sandi McDonald described his offending as “morally reprehensible”.

She said his modus operandi was to enter the banks wearing a balaclava or motorcycle helmet with dark sunglasses, while carrying a green canvas bag containing a firearm.

CCTV shows the bicycle bandit during robberies.(Supplied: SA Police)

The court heard he would point the gun at bank tellers and demand money from the safe.

He stole $358,967 during the 10 armed hold-ups. He also attempted to rob an 11th bank but left empty-handed.

“You saw the terror in your victims’ eyes, and yet you went back and repeated that conduct over and over again,” Justice McDonald said.

She said Parsons had the “audacity” to hold up a bank at Mount Pleasant on three occasions, and one teller was unfortunately present during two hold-ups.

“You walked in through the front door and placed your bag on the counter. You said words to the effect, ‘This is a hold-up, give me all your money,'” she said.

The judge said during the Yankalilla robbery, he told staff to “hurry up or there will be blood on the floor”.

“You also made a comment that you didn’t have a very good holiday the last time you were there, presumably referring to the fact you only managed to obtain a smaller amount of money on the last occasion,” she said.

‘On his selfish terms’

Victim Rose Lindner said Parsons’s sentencing felt “bittersweet”, and expressed frustration about his push to access voluntary assisted dying.

Rose Lindner says she and other victims are left dealing with Parsons’s “cowardly actions every day”.(ABC News: Meagan Dillon)

Outside court, she recalled the day an armed Parsons came face-to-face with her during one of his crimes.

“As I lived it, it was horrific,” she said.

“We had a gun aimed at us — who knew if he had bullets or not? So it’s a trauma.

“He came in, he pulled his balaclava down, pulled out his weapon, asked our customer to lie on the floor and took all the money.”

Ms Lindner thanked SA Police “for never giving up” and said she felt “some closure” – but she said she was also left feeling that “victims of this crime are again the losers today”.

“The banks get their money back, his family get to keep all of their assets and he gets to take his own life on his selfish terms,” she said.

“Yet we victims and our families get to continue with [the consequences of] his cowardly actions every day.”

DNA from cut led to arrest

The court heard that during a robbery at the BankSA Willunga branch, a police officer entered the bank at the same time as Parsons was executing a hold-up.

The bicycle bandit wearing a balaclava during one of the crimes.(Supplied)

Justice McDonald said Parsons was forced to flee out the back door, where he cut himself on a fence — leaving behind the DNA that ultimately led to his arrest in 2023.

“The police officer was forced to make a choice that day, as he too was armed,” she said.

“It was a choice to shoot and potentially injure or kill an innocent bystander, or to not shoot.

“He chose not to shoot. It is a choice he has had to live with for the rest of his life.”

Justice McDonald said staff at other banks across South Australia that were not targeted by Parsons were also victimised, fearing they could be next.

“It is notorious that during the period that these offences were committed that there was considerable publicity – you must have known the alarm you were causing the community, yet you continued to offend,” she said.

“Your conduct is morally reprehensible.”

SA Police seized a number of firearms during its investigation into the crimes.(Supplied: SA Police)

Justice McDonald said she accepted his apology, and that his family were also victims, unaware of his offending.

“They have had to grapple with not only your imminent death but the fact that the man who is about to pass away is not the man that they thought they knew,” she said.

She said Parson was a firefighter for 33 years and contracted cancers through his workplace.

“Your prognosis is poor — you will die in prison,” she said.

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