Sami Hamdach convicted of murdering Facebook Marketplace seller Ross Houlis over fake headphones
A man who killed a Facebook Marketplace seller in a “senseless” murder over a pair of fake wireless headphones will face at least 12 years behind bars.
Ross Houllis, 28, was beaten in Wakeley, west Sydney on Valentine’s Day 2020 before dying in hospital three days later.
Sami Hamdach pleaded guilty to the murder of Houllis last year.
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On Friday he appeared via audiovisual link before the NSW High Court, where he was sentenced to 16 years and 2 months in prison, with 12 years without parole.
Judge Stephen Campbell found that while Hamdach was not the one to cause the injuries that killed Houllis, he was as guilty of the crime as his accomplice, Abdul Karaali.
Karaali was found guilty of murder by a jury in early March. He is to be sentenced at a later date.
“The offense was a blatant example of the perpetrator taking the law into his own hands, which can never be tolerated, let alone condoned,” Judge Campbell said Friday.
Hamdach bought a pair of Houllis headphones for his partner for $150 the day before the attack, believing them to be fake.
He then devised a plan for his partner to communicate with Houllis and lure him to a location after dark.
His partner arranged for Houllis to meet and sell another pair when he was attacked by Hamdach and Karaali – who Hamdach had recruited as “Muscle”.
Judge Campbell said the couple not only intended to insist on a refund, but only to teach Houllis a lesson.
During the attack, Hamdach held Houllis down while Karaali beat him, the court heard.
CCTV captured part of the attack showing Houllis looking dazed and unsure and Karaali kicking and stomping on him.
Passing motorists who stopped to inquire about Houlli’s well-being were told he was drunk and that Hamdach and Karaali were taking care of him.
The couple eventually left the scene, leaving Houllis to die.
He suffered a catastrophic brain injury and his life support was cut off three days later.
Judge Campbell found that Hamdach, who had no criminal record, was suffering from schizoaffective disorder – a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – at the time of the murder.
But he conceded that it was “baffling” how a young man of good character and a productive life could hatch such a plan.
He added the motivation behind the plan was “trivial”.
While Hamdach has apologized to the Houllis family and expressed remorse, Judge Campbell said it was apparent that he would not yet accept full moral responsibility for the role he played in Houllis’ death.
“He will have to come to terms with his own part in killing Mr. Houllis,” he said.
Judge Campbell considered it highly unlikely that Hamdach would offend again and has good prospects for rehabilitation.
Hamdach’s partner had previously been sentenced to two years in prison for assisting in the assault.
Hamdach is eligible for parole in February 2032.
https://7news.com.au/news/nsw/sami-hamdach-sentenced-for-murder-of-facebook-marketplace-seller-ross-houlis-over-fake-earphones-c-10211453 Sami Hamdach convicted of murdering Facebook Marketplace seller Ross Houlis over fake headphones