A hitman for the Mafia shocked a New York court today by revealing he was gay and had renounced his life of crime.

Robert Mormando, 44, a hitman-turned-informant, was being sentenced for the murder of a Queens bagel store owner in 2002.

According to the New York Daily News, his lawyer Nancy Ennis said he joined La Cosa Nostra that year and was given the task of killing Angelo Mugnolo a month later.

Mormando carried out the killing, Ennis said, but found it to be “so disagreeable” he chose to leave the mob and was forced to live in hiding.

Ennis then revealed that Mormando had been quietly living with his partner since leaving the Mafia, describing it as “a peaceful working life”.

Mormando’s partner has refused to take part in a witness protection programme but the couple have moved to another part of the country.

Federal judge Jack Weinstein asked him to renounce the blood oath he took on joining the mob and was astonished when Mormando said he already had done so.

Weinstein said he frequently asked mob members to do the same but it was the first time any had agreed.

When asked by the court why he decided to join the Mafia, Mormando said that as a boy, he was seduced by the lifestyle he saw mobsters leading, but now “regretted” joining up.

Mormando was sentenced to time already served, which was nothing. He faced up to 17 years in prison.

There are no specific rules prohibiting homosexuality in the Mafia but it is not tolerated.

John D’Amato, the former boss of the DeCavalcante family, was murdered in 1992 when rumours surfaced he was gay. His body has never been recovered.