Christopher Estephan told psychologist of horror at his role in murder of Michael McGurk

Shot dead:  property developer Michael McGurk.
Shot dead: property developer Michael McGurk.

A young man involved in the shooting murder of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk felt extremely guilty, regretful and remorseful and has experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, a court has heard.

In December last year, Christopher Chafic Estephan pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder of Mr McGurk, 45.

He pleaded guilty on Thursday to two firearms charges.

On the evening of September 3, 2009, Estephan and Haissam Safetli, 47, travelled to Mr McGurk's home.

Mr McGurk was shot dead in front of his nine-year-old son.

In a sentencing hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, a Corrective Services psychologist, Bruce Tulloch, said he saw Estephan on five occasions in 2010 and 2011.

During their sessions, Estephan described to Mr Tulloch how he had been "groomed" and "set up" and "emotionally abused" by one of his co-offenders, whom he had trusted.

Mr Tulloch said Estephan told him of his "horror" at the fact that "someone had been murdered and he was associated with that, he was involved in that".

Mr Tulloch said Estephan struck him as a "sincere if somewhat naive young man" who had foolishly become involved with criminals.

Estephan was 19 at the time of the murder and 20 when he was arrested and taken into custody. He was originally charged with murder but, following a committal hearing, the charge was downgraded to being an accessory.

He told Mr Tulloch he experienced sleep problems, anxiety and depression - symptoms associated with PTSD.

The court heard Estephan stole number plates to use on the car that was driven to Mr McGurk's house.

He was present at the time of the murder, drove the car away from the scene, disposed of the gun and took part in burning evidence.

He was paid $20,000 and kept silent for months until he was arrested and charged.

The Crown prosecutor, Sharon Harris, said Estephan "made a conscious and voluntary decision to assist his co-offenders after the murder for which he was then paid".

But she said under the set of facts agreed between the Crown and defence, she could not say Estephan was aware Mr McGurk was to be murdered before or during the drive to Cremorne.

He had previously been to the house to conduct "surveillance".

His youth did not excuse his silence following the murder, Ms Harris said.

Estephan was supported in court by about 15 relatives and friends.

The hearing continues.

This story Christopher Estephan told psychologist of horror at his role in murder of Michael McGurk first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.