| 22.06,18. 06:11 AM |
Ron Medich: Millionaire property developer sentenced to 39 years in jail after execution-style murder
The property developer rubbed shoulders with the powerful, even bribing them with prostitutes, but paid the ultimate price for his ruthless and seedy method of business
Millionaire property developer Ron Medich will likely die in jail after being sentenced to 39 years for ordering the execution-style murder of a former business associate after their relationship turned sour.
In a murder that shocked Sydney, businessman Michael McGurk, 45, was shot in the head after pulling up outside his Cremorne home on Sydney's lower north shore in September 2009.
Mr McGurk had just picked up a takeaway meal for dinner when he was murdered, brutally, with the one shot.
In the NSW Supreme Court today Justice Bellew described the contract killing of Mr McGurk as "a fundamentally abhorrent and heinous crime".
"The offender treated the life of Mr McGurk as being of no value at all," he said. "Something he could simply dispose of when he thought it was in his way."
He also sentenced Medich to the intimidation of Mr McGurk's wife Kimberley, describing it as "breathtaking callous" and "inherently ruthless".
His non-parole period would be 30 years, meaning Medich, 70, will be almost 100 years old before he is even considered for release.
Medich has launched an intention to appeal against the sentence.
In front of a full courtroom, Justice Bellew also described the "catastrophic" impact the crime has had on Mr McGurk's family and wife, who was present in the courtroom.
Justice Bellew said he had privately read the impact statements from Mr McGurk's family and said he had taken them into account in sentencing.
He said their lives would never be the same.
"It has had a catastrophic impact on the family," he said. "And it would not be overstating that [their] lives will never be the same. [They should be] admired and lauded [for] trying to come to terms with what has occurred."
A statement read by Vivian Evans, the family's solicitor, said: "The family are relieved and again wish to thank everyone involved in achieving this result."
They did not speak to the media outside court.
Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and dark grey tie, Medich stared blankly ahead during the sentencing barely showing any emotion, apart from an occasional frown and shake of the head in response to some of the statements made by Justice Bellew.
He not appear to have any family members inside the courtroom and had a blank expression when the sentence was read out.
Following a trial earlier this year, a jury found him guilty of both crimes, after more than five days of deliberations.
It was his second trial for these offences after a jury failed to reach a verdict last year.
'Toxic relationship' between Medich and McGurk
Justice Bellew described the various business dealings, disputes and litigations that formed the backdrop to the killing.
Mr McGurk and Medich had once been involved in multi-million-dollar business partnerships, including property developments and financing.
However, the relationship turned sour, with Medich claiming he was owed money.
Justice Bellew described how Mr Medich had developed a "deep-seated hatred" of Mr McGurk and believing that the "f*****g bastard" was "ruining his life".
The court was told how Medich then turned to close friend and former boxer Fortunato 'Lucky' Gattellari to "permanently resolve" the disputes by arranging the fatal shooting.
Justice Bellew said today he was satisfied the price paid was $500,000 to carry out the shooting.
Gattellari pleaded guilty to his role in the murder and received a discount of 60 per cent on his sentence after agreeing to help prosecutors and give evidence against his co-accused.
Three of Gattellari's associates have also been sentenced for their roles in the murder.
Life sentence not appropriate
Referring to Medich as "the offender" throughout the sentencing hearing, Justice Bellew slowly went through the complexities of the case over two hours, explaining how he came to his sentencing decision after the murder of Mr McGurk and the subsequent intimidation of his wife.
He said he considered a life sentence for Medich, and he said the fact he approached Gattellari to carry out the murder increased his culpability.
He said criminality and moral culpability was "substantially in excess" of his co-accused, but did not accept the Crown prosecutor's submission that a life sentence was appropriate in this case.
"Directing and financing the killing of someone is an abhorrent crime," Justice Bellew said. "The sentencing of which must show this."
"I am satisfied that the offender is not a danger to the community, but in this offence that is [not the] concern.
"However, if the offender had not done what he did, I am satisfied Mr McGurk would not have been murdered."