Thug who bludgeoned young Facebook Marketplace seller to death over fake AirPods jailed for up to 28 YEARS
- Sentenced to 28 years in prison for murder on Valentine’s Day 2020
- Attack planned by the sale of Apple AirPods the day before
A Sydney man who hatched a scheme to lure Ross Houllis to a car park where he was bludgeoned to death by a pair of fake Apple AirPods has been jailed for at least 12 years for the “senseless” and “cruel” attack.
Sami Hamdach on Friday sat silently watching from prison as he learned of his fate inside Sydney High Court after pleading guilty to the murder of 28-year-old Mr Houllis.
Houllis died in hospital three days after he was punched, kicked and trampled in a car park in Wakeley, western Sydney, on Valentine’s Day in 2020.
The tragedy was set in motion the day before when Hamdach agreed via Facebook Marketplace to buy Houllis a pair of headphones for $150.
The court was told that Hamdach became angry after learning later that the AirPods, which he had bought as a gift for his girlfriend, were fake.
Abdul Karaali (pictured) has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for the 2020 murder of Ross Houllis
After being lured into the car park, Houllis was attacked by Hamdach and his co-offender Abdul Karaali, who had been recruited as “muscle” for the ambush, the court was told.
“The need for force arose because it was the intention of the offender not only to insist on a refund, but also to teach Mr. Houllis a lesson by beating him,” Judge Stephen Campbell said in his sentencing statements on Friday.
The court was told that during the assault, Hamdach was yelling loudly and aggressively for his money back.
Judge Campbell said security cameras showed Karaali beating Houllis on the head and body while Hamdach held him down.
At another point in the altercation, Karaali kicked Houllis, who was standing up at the time, in the head.
“Mr Karaali stomped on his head twice in rapid succession in an obviously gratuitous, senseless and cruel manner,” Judge Campbell said, noting that Hamdach prevented Karaali from landing a third blow.
Karaali has pleaded not guilty to murder, but earlier this month a jury found him guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
During the attack, two motorists stopped to ask if Houllis was okay, but were told he was intoxicated and the two men were taking care of him.
Mr. Houllis (pictured) had sold Karaali’s friend Sami Hamdach the pair of AirPods the day before, and recruited Karaali to ambush Mr. Houllis believing they were fake.
After fleeing the scene, Hamdach was identified as his ute was captured on CCTV.
Houllis died on February 17, 2020 due to catastrophic brain injuries.
Judge Campbell said Hamdach was the “progenitor” of the joint criminal enterprise that led to Houllis’s death, which occurred when he took “the law into his own hands.”
“I must say that one of the confusing aspects of the offender’s offense has been the difficulty in understanding how a young man with no real criminal record, leading a productive life, came to be involved in the murder of Mr. Houllis over the very minor matter of supplying non-genuine headphones,” Judge Campbell said.
Hamdach was sentenced to 16 years and two months in prison, with a non-parole period of 12 years. With time served, he will first be eligible for release from him in February 2032.