Alleged killer Gerurdas Gerrit Heijne 'obsessed with teen lover'

Gerurdas Gerrit Heijne, 45, is standing trial in the West Australian Supreme Court for the murder of his long-term partner Frank Ciancosi, 51. The couple were the co-founders of the Lenard's chicken store chain in Western Australia.

http://www.news.com.au
May 19, 2009

Alleged killer Gerurdas Gerrit Heijne 'obsessed with teen lover'
Andrea Hayward, AAP

A CHICKEN store millionaire accused of murdering his long-term boyfriend was obsessed with a teenage lover and wanted a future with the young man, a Perth court has been told.

Gerurdas Gerrit Heijne, 45, is standing trial in the West Australian Supreme Court for the murder of his long-term partner Frank Ciancosi, 51.

The couple were the co-founders of the Lenard's chicken store chain in Western Australia. Mr Heijne has pleaded not guilty.

Police discovered Mr Ciancosi's body on January 4, 2008.

As the trial opened on Monday, prosecutor Bruno Fiannaca said Mr Heijne had strangled his partner of 25 years the night before the body was found in their penthouse apartment.

Mr Fiannaca said that by the end of 2007, the couple - who were business partners as the master franchisees of Lenard's chicken store in Western Australia - had a rocky relationship.

"You will hear evidence Mr Heijne was having an affair with a younger man," Mr Fiannaca told the jury in his opening address.

"Mr Heijne was obsessed with this young man, he wanted a future with this young man."

On the morning after the alleged murder, Heijne had visited his 19-year-old lover and confessed to strangling Mr Ciancosi, Mr Fiannaca said.

"He (Heijne) went there to tell him he had strangled Mr Ciancosi and he was dead," he said.

Mr Fiannaca said Mr Heijne then confessed to a manager at one of the couple's Perth stores to strangling Mr Ciancosi until he stopped breathing, saying: "I'm serious, he's dead, he's in my apartment".

Mr Heijne told the store manager he'd left the air conditioning on in the apartment and called a lawyer who alerted police.

Officers found Mr Ciancosi under the covers in his bed with his arms around a pillow on top of him, the court was told.

Mr Fiannaca said Mr Heijne began an intimate relationship with the younger man while Mr Ciancosi was in Italy with his mother in September and October, 2007.

The affair began when the teenager came to stay at the couple's apartment, the court was told.

The teenager moved out of the apartment before Mr Ciancosi returned from overseas, but Mr Heijne continued to see his young lover socially, causing distress to Mr Ciancosi, the jury was told.

But Mr Heijne and the teenager had a falling out after returning from an interstate trip in November 2008.

The next day Mr Heijne faxed the young man, writing: "Frank has f**ked every relationship I have ever had," Mr Fiannaca told the court.

Despite the teenager's rejections, Mr Heijne continued to pursue him, buying him expensive gifts and taking him on shopping sprees, Mr Fiannaca said.

"This was the person he wanted to be with," he told the court.

An autopsy showed Mr Ciancosi's death was consistent with strangulation, and Mr Heijne's DNA had been found at the scene, the court was told.

There was ample evidence to explain the circumstances in which Mr Ciancosi was murdered, the prosecutor said.

Lawyers for Mr Heijne did not make an opening address.

Witnesses in the case are expected to start giving evidence this afternoon.

The trial continues.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25500893-29277,00.html


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