Slain developer feared ‘hit’

Posted on 27/04/2020 by

Crime scene… police last night outside the Cranbrook Avenue, Cremorne, Sydney house where Mr McGurk was shot. Photo: Jon ReidONLY a week ago Michael Loch McGurk told the Herald an unknown person had hired someone to kill him. Last night the 46-year-old property developer and lender of last resort was shot dead as he arrived home at Cranbrook Avenue in Cremorne.His black Mercedes remained parked at the spot where he fell, with the driver’s door open. Shortly before midnight officers removed the tarpaulin walls of a blue police tent to reveal Mr McGurk’s body lying on its back, feet pointed skyward and his right arm splayed on the ground.About half a dozen police slowly swept front yards and the pavement with torches.Mr McGurk, a father of four, was due to appear in the NSW Supreme Court today before Justice David Hammerschlag in relation to caveats he had placed over properties owned by the brothers Ben and Adam Tilley, including over their office in Edgecliff.Until a fortnight ago Mr McGurk was facing several assault charges and two charges of firebombing houses, one of which was that of Adam Tilley in Wolseley Road, Point Piper. But much to the frustration of police, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the charges.Late last night police had set up two blue tents and floodlit the scene. Detective Inspector Mick Sheehy would not confirm what wounds the man had suffered except to say he had suffered a single gunshot wound. When asked if a car had been seen leaving Cranbrook Avenue, he said: ”At this stage it’s part of our investigation to see if there was a vehicle or if the person left on foot.”When asked if the man’s family had been informed, he said: ”The man’s family is at home at the moment. We are establishing their movement.”A witness at the scene last night said all indications were it was Mr McGurk. ”His son was in his car. The Mercedes-Benz is parked and the body is there. Apparently he just pulled up and â?¦ boom. We were sitting in our kitchen and then came out and saw all the police. Apparently the son got out of the car and said ‘mummy, mummy, mummy’ and screamed.”Another witness, living across the road from Mr McGurk’s house, who wanted to be known only as Amon, said he was standing across the road having a cigarette when the shooting happened. ”I heard a bang about 15 to 25 metres down the street. I didn’t know someone had been shot at the time, but I could see people moving around the car,” he said.”There was no car lights, no car double-parked or speeding off. It looks like whoever did it ran off in the other direction, towards Spofforth Street. It’s a narrow street, they didn’t come towards me and there only two ways they can go, so they must have gone down there,” he said.”I knew he must have been killed, they put a sheet on him. You could see blood on the road around his head.”The witness also said a friend in his unit block gave a statement to police about a suspicious man loitering in the street during the day.Dozens of neighbours expressed their amazement that a seemingly professional killing could have occurred in their affluent suburb. The body lay only 100 metres from the exclusive school SCEGGS Redlands.The other house Mr McGurk had been charged over belonged to Stuart Rowan, a valuer.Mr McGurk was understood to be a suspect in the bombing of a third house, one in Cremorne belonging to a property developer, Justin Brown.On November 20 last year a petrol bomb was thrown into Mr Tilley’s house. Six days later, Mr Rowan’s house in Queens Street, Beaconsfield, was firebombed.The Wolseley Road house has been at the centre of a bitter legal dispute. The property developer Ron Medich sold it to Mr Tilley in 2004, and they are fighting over how much Mr Tilley owes. At the height of the dispute, Mr Medich appointed Mr McGurk as his trustee to recover the money from Mr Tilley.Mr McGurk was also feuding with Mr Medich.Mr McGurk came to public notice three years ago when he attempted to sue one the Sultan of Brunei, claiming he had welched on a deal to buy a match-boxed-sized Koran, kept in a jewel-encrusted case.There is nothing to suggest the shooting had anything to do with any of the individuals in dispute with Mr McGurk.with Vanda Carson
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