Bank robber to take own life after sentence

Kym Parsons during one of his robberies. Picture: Supplied
Kym Parsons during one of his robberies. Picture: Supplied

A man who terrorised a state in a 10-year bank robbing spree has been sentenced to 35 years in prison even as cancer corrodes his body and he makes plans to imminently end his life through a voluntary assisted dying procedure.

Kym Parsons, 73, robbed 11 banks across South Australia from 2004 to 2014, armed with a rifle and wearing a black balaclava.

He evaded capture for years before South Australian Police arrested him on October 13, 2023.

He originally pleaded not guilty to the crimes, before turning suddenly to admit to his crime spree last week.

In a packed courtroom filled with the victims of Parsons’ brutal robberies, Supreme Court Justice Sandi McDonald delivered her sentencing remarks, telling Parsons, who sat quietly in the dock from the remand centre, his conduct was “morally reprehensible”.

Parsons, Bicycle Bandit
‘Bicycle bandit’ bank robber Kym Allen Parsons. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

“On the first day at the ANZ Bank, in May 2004, you saw the terror in your victims’ eyes, and yet you went back and repeated that conduct, over and over again,” Justice McDonald said.

In a July 2007 robbery of the BankSA branch at Mt Pleasant, he wore a motorcycle helmet to disguise his face.

He brandished his firearm, yelled out “this is a hold up, give me all your money”, and made away with $31,000.

He told the bank tellers if anyone tried to follow him, they would be shot.

On September 14, 2007, he hit the ANZ Bank at Yankalilla wearing a balaclava and dark sunglasses.

He pointed his rifle directly at a bank teller

At one stage, he said, “hurry up, or there will be blood on the floor.”

He made away with nearly $44,000.

Parsons had earlier robbed the ANZ Yankalilla branch in 2006 and the BankSA branch in 2005.

Parsons wore black balaclavas during his robberies. Picture: Supplied
Parsons wore black balaclavas during his robberies. Picture: Supplied

Justice McDonald said it was an “extraordinary feature” of his offending that he had returned to the same targets on multiple occasions.

“No doubt realising that maybe the same staff were working there, staff who would be retraumatised by your conduct.”

On June 27, 2008, he hit the ANZ Bank at Balaklava, but the robbery didn’t go according to plan.

A police officer stepped into the bank, asking if everything was alright.

Parsons confronted the officer with his firearm, the court heard, forcing the officer out of the door.

Parsons then fled through the rear entry of the bank.

He climbed a fence to flee, but cut himself, leaving some of his blood at the scene.

The court heard DNA evidence gleaned from the fence formed part of the brief against Parsons and led to his arrest.

Parsons victim Rose Lindner speaks to media after attending the sentencing for Parsons. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Mark Brake

“The police officer was forced to make a choice that day, as he too was armed” Justice McDonald 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 that he has had to live with for the rest of his life.

“I hope that has become easier in the knowledge that his conduct resulted in you taking a route out the back door that has ultimately led to evidence that has been a crucial part in identifying you as the person responsible for these crimes.”

Altogether, Parsons stole some $358,000 across his spree.

Justice McDonald said some of Mr Parsons’ victims had suffered trauma and PTSD from his acts.

SA Health granted Mr Parsons access to VAD earlier this year, before he had pleaded guilty to his crimes and entered custody.

Justice McDonald sentenced Parsons to 35 years in prison with a non-parole period of 28 years.

South Australia Water Minister David Speirs says he stands by his "conservative" position on matters pertaining to abortion and voluntary euthanasia – amid the state passing its Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation. "I'm on the record as a conservative on these matters of life and death whether it's abortion or voluntary euthanasia – I stand by that position," Mr Speirs told Sky News host Chris Kenny. South Australia will become the fourth Australian state to legalise euthanasia after Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria. Mr Speirs said the bill legislation was "conservative" with a number of safeguards in place. He said the government will have to "keep a good eye" on "activism" of the left who would seek to "broaden" the scope of the bill to include more people into it. "Because when it comes to life and death yes we do have to have compassion at the heart of things," he said. "But equally we have to make sure that the most vulnerable are not exploited by a system that becomes broader overtime – something we've seen in other jurisdictions." Mr Speirs said it would be several months before the "regime" would be properly established.

“In sentencing you, what is important is that there is a public denunciation of your conduct,” she said.

She said she could see “no real explanation” for his crimes, but accepted his guilty plea was driven by “remorse”.

“You have made a choice, to attempt in some way, to atone for your behaviour in the plea of guilty.

“You have attempted to give your victims some answers, some closure, in circumstances in which, in all likelihood, you would have passed away long before there was any real prospect of a trial taking place.”

Parsons will be transferred imminently to Flinders Medical Centre, where he will be able to access his voluntary assisted dying kit.

It is understood Mr Parsons only has days or weeks left to live, with cancer eating into his bones, brain and lungs.

South Australia passed its VAD laws in 2021 and eligible patients with terminal illnesses have been able to access the procedure since 2023.

The procedure is available to prisoners.

Speaking outside court after the sentence, one of Parsons’ victims said she was happy with the 35-year jail term.

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