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GRAPHIC WARNING: This story contains details which may be disturbing for some readers.
A man who tortured and brutally killed 17-year-old Justin Tsang in a Sydney share house, telling others the victim would “snitch” if they took him to hospital, has been jailed for a maximum of 35 years.
Yigit Can Erdogan, 23, known as John, was found guilty by a NSW Supreme Court jury last year of the murder of Tsang after a dispute involving false accusations of stolen property, including cash.
Justin Tsang was brutally murdered in a Burwood Heights share house in March 2019.Credit:NSW Police
Tsang’s family last saw the teenager on March 11, 2019. He was reported missing on March 15 and his body was found wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave at the Jamison Lookout in Wentworth Falls on March 19.
Erdogan told his trial he had first met Tsang at an internet café, and they would share the drug Xanax. Neither of the two men lived at the Burwood Heights share house where the killing occurred, but Erdogan was staying there and had picked Tsang up from a Drummoyne property on March 11.
The court heard Erdogan accused Tsang of stealing property from those in the house, and the victim was driven around before his death on March 12 as the offender sought $500 from a friend of Tsang’s in return.
Justice Mark Ierace found Erdogan was the “instigator” of the murder, including stabbing Tsang 22 times in the neck with two kitchen knives, and had instructed others to “soundproof” the property.
Yigit Can Erdogan, known as John, will first be eligible for parole in 2043.Credit:Nine News
The court heard Erdogan told another man to hit Tsang in the head with a cricket bat “because of his prowess as a cricketer” as “a better swinger”.
After the initial assaults, Erdogan was heard saying: “This kid is so injured that if we take him to a hospital he’s going to snitch. We need to kill him.”
The judge said the offence had features of “gratuitous cruelty” over hours, and involved the use of weapons including a wrench and work boots Erdogan had changed into to stomp on Tsang’s head.
“The killing of Mr Tsang was reprehensible in the extreme,” Ierace said, describing the murder as “premeditated, prolonged, callous and entirely unprovoked”.
“The evidence does not establish that the deceased in fact stole any property from the house.”
Yigit Can Erdogan’s arrest over the murder.
He said there was an absence of remorse, not only by Erdogan’s not guilty plea, but through evidence he had mocked and belittled the deceased after the killing, including with a “gurgling” noise.
Ierace sentenced Erdogan to a maximum of 35 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 24 years.
Co-offenders Joel Robertson and Christopher Hopkinson, who were 18 at the time and lived in the share house, pleaded guilty to their roles in the murder and were jailed last year.
Robertson, who struck Tsang in the head with a cricket bat multiple times and wrapped his body, received a maximum of 13 years and two months behind bars with a non-parole period of nine years.
Hopkinson, who was sentenced on the basis of being part of a joint criminal enterprise and helped to clean the scene, was jailed for a maximum of 12 years and nine months with a non-parole period of eight years and three months.
Erdogan, who has been in custody since March 2019, will first be eligible for parole in April 2043.
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