A former dentistry student who posed as a flower deliveryman to force his way into a Sydney home where he tied up two young women has been sentenced to at least two years' jail.
Kyrillos Mark Ghaly had been a high-achieving student and a model member of his Coptic Christian community in Sydney when he moved to Adelaide to undertake a bachelor of dental surgery, the Sydney District Court heard on Friday.
After moving into a share house he began using drugs, which affected his studies and he was failed out of the degree.
Back in Sydney he said he racked up a drug debt of $60,000 and loan sharks were threatening to burn his family's house down.
In November 2012 he rang an 18-year-old friend of his sister and told her he was a driver for Roses Only and he had a gift, sent to celebrate the end of her HSC exams, that he was to deliver to her Minchinbury home.
Armed with a 30-centimetre knife, he pushed past the victim when she answered the door. He tied up the woman and her 22-year-old sister with duct tape while he ransacked the house for cash and jewellery.
As he left the house, he said, "All right, that's been fun."
The same month he tricked a distant cousin into letting him into his Sylvania Waters home under the guise of returning some university books.
He held a knife to the young man's throat and threatened to kill him before tying him to a chair and searching the house, taking jewellery and electronics.
After a 60-minute ordeal, Ghaly told the man, "I'm sorry for what I have put you through. You seem like a nice guy. I wish we could have met under better circumstances."
Ghaly, 27, also known as Kyrillos Abdelmaklek, pleaded guilty to two break-and-enter charges and one of armed robbery.
The court was told he has spent more than 12 months in drug rehabilitation facilities and is currently studying physiotherapy at the University of Western Sydney.
Judge Anthony Blackmore said Ghaly was "essentially rehabilitated". He sentenced him to a non-parole period of two years with a maximum four-year term.
He will be eligible for parole in July next year.
Correction: An earlier version of this story carried an incorrect photograph, of somebody with the same name who is unrelated to the story. The Herald apologises for any embarrassment caused as a result of this error.
The story Down-and-out dentistry student posed as flower deliveryman then tied up women, ransacked house first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.