Millionaire jailed over foe’s murder
SYDNEY millionaire Ron Medich has been jailed for at least 30 years for directing the execution-style murder of a business enemy and the intimidation of his widow.
The 70-year-old property developer was found guilty in April of the contract murder of Michael McGurk, who was shot dead outside his Sydney home in September 2009, and the intimidation of Kimberley McGurk almost a year later.
In the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew described the murder as an abhorrent and heinous crime before jailing Medich for 39 years with a non-parole period of 30 years.
The jury accepted the evidence of his former confidant, Lucky Gattellari, who said Medich masterminded and financed the shooting of the 45-year-old wheeler and dealer.
He was gunned down after he and Medich had become embroiled in ongoing and protracted legal battles involving millions of dollars.
"I am satisfied that by the early part of 2009, the decline of the relationship between the offender and Mr McGurk ... had led the offender to form a deep- seated hatred and provided him with a motive to have him killed," the judge said on Thursday.
"I am satisfied the offender paid in the vicinity of $500,000 to have Mr McGurk killed."
The "violent, sudden and unexpected" death of Mr McGurk had a catastrophic effect on his family, Justice Bellew said.
Extending his deepest sympathy to them, the judge said they had gone through "the most severe emotional upheavals that could ever possibly be managed".
Gattellari testified that Medich said he had been made a "laughing stock in the eastern suburbs", that Mr McGurk was ruining his reputation, and he wanted Gattellari to find someone "to take care of this guy".
Gattellari said he asked Medich if he was sure about the murder, saying "there's no going back", and he replied: "I am sure. I want him done." The star crown witness was sentenced in May 2013 to at least seven years and six months in jail after admitting organising the murder. He'd received a 60 per cent discount for his guilty plea and helping authorities.
Medich is the sixth man to be sentenced over the murder.
TIMELINE OF THE RON MEDICH MURDER TRIALS
September 3 - Michael McGurk, 45, gunned down outside his luxury Sydney home 2010 August 8 - Kimberley McGurk intimidated at her home by a stranger who says she shouldn't be a thief like her husband and should pay her debts
October 13 - Lucky Gattellari, Senad Kaminic, Haissam Safetli and Christopher Estephan arrested over the murder
October 27 - Ron Medich charged
December 17 - Medich granted bail, released from jail three days later
May 10 - Gattellari sentenced to at least seven years six months after admitting organising the murder, receiving a 60 per cent discount for his guilty plea and helping authorities
May 10 - Kaminic, Gattellari's driver and occasional standover man, sentenced to at least two years six months after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact, receiving a 50 per cent discount
August 6 - Medich's committal hearing begins
August 9 - Safetli jailed for at least seven years after pleading guilty to murder and intimidation - Crown says he was "likely" to have been the shooter
September 27 - Medich ordered to stand trial 2014
April 30 - Estephan, Safetli's getaway driver, sentenced to at least five years after admitting being an accessory after the fact and firearm offences
July 5 - Jury discharged before Medich trial starts after extensive new material handed to the defence by the prosecution
December 21 - Gattellari, and others, are charged with conspiring to defraud Medich in 2013 and 2014, allegedly involving attempts to extort money from him in return for Gattellari's silence
January 30 - Medich's murder and intimidation trial starts in NSW Supreme Court
March 24 - Jury retires
April 13 - Jury discharged after being unable to reach a verdict
January 30 - Medich's retrial starts
April 11 - Jury retires
April 23 - The jury of 11 men finds Medich guilty of both charges after deliberating for five-and-a-half days. Medich taken into custody
June 18 - Bassam Safetli given a nine-month suspended jail term and put on a 12-month bond for concealing serious indictable offences in not telling police of the involvement of his brother, Haissam Safetli, in the murder plot and the murder
June 21 - Medich jailed for 39 years with a non-parole period of 30 years.