Accused: Ron Medich. Photo: Wolter Peeters
They were dirty deeds aplenty in the opening of the Crown's case against accused murderer Ron Medich on Wednesday.
But there was nothing dirt cheap about the alleged payment by the property tycoon of $500,000 in cash to have his former business associate Michael McGurk murdered and his widow threatened.
Sawn-off shotguns, blackmail, prostitutes and enforcers were all touched upon during the opening of one of the state's most sensational murder cases.
Scottish-born wheeler dealer Michael McGurk was shot in the right side of his head at 6.25pm on September 3, 2009.
Mr Medich, 65, the alleged mastermind, and Christopher Estephan, 23, the alleged hitman, are facing a committal hearing in Sydney's Central Local Court.
The Crown case is that Mr Medich and Mr McGurk had fallen out over property dealings and Mr Medich wanted his former partner killed in order to bring to an end the protracted court cases in which they were embroiled.
''I need to put an end to this … I need you to find someone to kill him for me,'' is what Mr Medich is alleged to have said to right-hand man Lucky Gattellari in late March 2009.
Gattellari, who has been sentenced over his role in the murder, told police he replied: ''Are you sure about this, because there is no going back?'' He said Mr Medich replied: ''Yes, I am absolutely sure.''
Mr Medich suggested he would get some cash from his friend Les Samba to use as a down payment for the murder. Two days later Gattellari drove to the Mr Medich's waterside home in Point Piper where Mr Medich gave him a Cryovac-sealed bag, saying: ''Here's $250,000 to take care of McGurk.''
Mr Samba, who raced horses with Mr Medich, was shot dead in Melbourne in 2011. His murder, which is not related to the current proceedings, remains unsolved.
The Crown's first witness, South American-born tradesman Daniel Costa, claimed Gattellari had not only approached him to threaten Kimberley McGurk after her husband's death, but also took him to a mansion in Denham Court and suggested he rob it.
The court heard the house belonged to Mr Medich's brother Roy. Mr Costa said Gattellari suggested he make the robbery appear to be ''an insurance job''. Mr Costa said he understood there was ''a problem between the Medich brothers or one of the Mediches and Lucky''.
Mr Costa said he had done neither of Gattellari's jobs.
Another witness, Matthew Crockett, who worked with Gattellari at the latter's Eling Forest Winery at Sutton Forest, said he had been paid thousands of dollars to act as Gattellari's enforcer.
One of his jobs had involved carrying out surveillance on Mr Medich's wife, Odetta. In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Gina O'Rourke said after Mr McGurk's murder Mr Medich ''had Gattellari arrange surveillance upon his own wife [Odetta Medich]'', who was urging him to cut ties with Gattellari.
He also transferred shares to prevent Mrs Medich from accessing his financial records.
Mr Medich is also alleged to have paid $100,000 to have Kimberley McGurk threatened at her home on August 8, 2010, and told to repay her husband's debts.
On August 20, 2010, Mr Medich met wealthy property developer Bob Ell and Mr McGurk's friend Richie Vereker at a Thai restaurant in Potts Point.
Mr Medich believed Mrs McGurk had ''got the message'' and the lunch would indeed be a ''settlement meeting''. The court heard that, instead, the pair suggested Mr Medich pay Mrs McGurk money and to stop harassing her. This caused Mr Medich to become paranoid and believe the police were onto him. Two months later, on October 27, 2010, he was charged with soliciting murder. A week later the charge was upgraded to murder.