The Fast Life and Sudden Death of Michael McGurk

by |May 24, 2010

UPDATE: THE former wife of the Sultan of Brunei has obtained a court injunction stopping distribution of a best-selling book on the murder of Michael McGurk, the Sydney developer, conman and extortionist. SMH.

Finally, the true story of that very public murder whose investigation uncovered dark and crooked business dealings reaching into the upper echelons of the Labor Party.

In September 2009 Sydney business man Michael McGurk was executed in a professional hit on the driveway of his North Shore house. With a single shot to the head the property developer, doting father and generous Catholic parishioner was revealed as a violent loan shark, stand over merchant and extortionist who didn’t care who he cheated.

His murder may have gone unnoticed had it not lifted the lid on some of the darker ways of doing business Sydney-style. And those caught up in his web included high profile Labor identities, hell-bent property developers, a merchant bank and even the Sultan of Brunei. Fuelled by drugs and alcohol, McGurk tried to scam them all.

As compelling and fast-paced as any thriller, this is the true story of a man who thought he could do anything and get away with it. It is also the story of a very public murder. Sometimes life really is stranger than fiction…

Richard Vereker knew Michael McGurk as well as anybody could, although not as well as he thought. Mark Abernethy is best known as a thriller writer whose books include Golden Serpent, Second Strike and Double Back. He has also been a journalist writing for a number of newspapers including the Australian Financial Review.

Isn’t it time you found out what was behind a professional hit which took place in a suburban street not unlike your own?

Click Here to Buy
The Fast Life and Sudden Death of Michael McGurk
Avail. 1 July 2010
$19.95 SAVE 20%

24.08.2010Booktopia Comment: Due to legal proceedings the sale of The Fast Life And Sudden Death Of Michael McGurk has been halted by the publisher. The publisher is still accepting backorders, however, and should the book become available those orders will be filled. Should the book be cancelled, customers who have placed backorders will have their money refunded. Thank you.

Full SMH article: here…

Daily Telegraph: here…

5 Comments Share:

About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • contra_007

    September 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    What has been fascinating about the McGurk case was that he obviously turned up here in Australia as an adult and then became rich very quickly. The dates when he is supposed to have come here vary between 1991 and 1993. There was also a mentioning once that his birthdays vary and maybe McGurk was not even his real name?!
    Why has Immigration not made any data of his immigration application public?
    Why was his photo not published in Britain asking ‘Who knew this man?’
    Was he a crook who had been given a new identity after being in witness protection?
    Was he one of the operational footsoldiers (with interesting links) who worked for the British or US secret services?
    How did he so easily find entry into the circles of the rich and powerful?
    We’d like to know more details what kind of people Immigration lets into Australia and on what grounds. Surely there must be a jurisdiction where the Sultan’s wife does not reach?

    • maizy daidy

      November 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

      i knew michael mcgurk when he lived in glasgow his real mane was mick rushford a boy who had a child to my freind jean welsh now deceased he had a daughter chelsea who still resides in glasgow scotland.i have photos of him and also know his true life story.

      • contra_007

        March 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm

        That sounds fascinating. You should write this down, although at this stage I could not propose what to do with it. But there will be interest after the Medich trials are finished.

        Far too little importance is put on studying which environments create people like McGurk/Rushford. Was he abandoned by the parents? What did the people who raised him do for a living? Would his time of departure suggest that he may have been an operative close to the secret services whose personel shrunk with the fall of the iron curtain? Quite often crim networks have overlapped with secret service networks.

        Here in Australia it is somewhat worrying that he found entry with a false name; did he know the procedures well or did he have a protector? Why would he know something about the Brunei royal family that encouraged him to what he did? Most of us would not even know how to contact them.

        He also found entry into the circles of establishment in Sydney quite quickly, for which you would normally need longstanding connections from childhood or vast amounts of money.

        His activities in a mortgage swindle in Melbourne, the ‘sports promotions’ company that supplied ‘girls’ to sports stars suggests he was extremely well connected. While they don’t tell us here how this may have evolved, his past in Britain is certainly interesting for a future documentary. You should probably also note the dates of events that he was connected to which appeared in the media for verification.
        Just a few days ago an associate of the alleged McGurk murder instigator Medich was shot dead after a ‘meeting’ on a Sunday night in a Melbourne street, so this is a very wide net indeed and your part will be of interest to the media at a later stage.

      • November 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm

        I am doing a study into this case for university and was wondering if you could assist in furthering my knowledge and understanding of his past life in Scotland?

      • Johnny Byrne

        March 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm

        I knew Mick when he lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in the late 80’s. His brother Bobby, who he called Symbols lived there too. He could be very funny but had a vicious streak. I recall one occasion when he turned on Symbols and really beat him up. Bobby arrived at my door in the early hours bleeding from head wounds. We worked for a company called Overseas Military Sales Corporation which sold cars to US Military personnel stationed overseas. I last saw Mick and Bobby as they went through the departure gate at Geneva Airport in Switzerland. I was relieved to see the back of him to be honest. I have many stories about him. I have a couple of photos of him and Bobby also.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *