Millionaire 'strangled gay lover' to be with younger man

"What's my mother going to think?" and then became remorseful saying, "Poor Frank, I can't believe it, he's such a kind soul".

The Australian
May 19, 2009

Millionaire 'strangled gay lover' to be with younger man
Debbie Guest

CHICKEN tycoon Gerardus Gerrit Heijne strangled his gay lover in the kitchen of their Perth penthouse because he stood in the way of a new life with a much younger male lover.

Opening the state's case in the West Australian Supreme Court yesterday, prosecutor Bruno Fiannaca said Mr Heijne strangled Frank Cianciosi, his partner of 25 years, and then placed the body under the covers of his bed.

He then set the airconditioner of their multi-million-dollar riverside penthouse in East Perth to 16C to preserve the body, Mr Fiannaca told a jury. He said Mr Heijne, now 45, later went to the house of his young lover, whose name has been suppressed, lay on his bed and told him, "I have killed Frank", before demonstrating how he had strangled him.

On January 4 last year, the day after the killing allegedly took place, Mr Heijne, who is facing one charge of murder, also allegedly confessed to an employee who worked as a manager for his and Cianciosi's West Australian Lenard's Chicken empire.

The couple had built their wealth as the state's "master franchisees" of the Brisbane-based Lenard's Chicken chain, which had 27 stores across Western Australia. Testifying yesterday, Lenard's Chicken franchisee support consultant Jason Mitchell told the court Mr Heijne told him: "Frank's dead and in the apartment."

Mr Mitchell said Mr Heijne went on to say, "What's my mother going to think?" and then became remorseful saying, "Poor Frank, I can't believe it, he's such a kind soul".

"He (Mr Heijne) said he was responsible for what happened and needed to do his penance for what he had done," Mr Mitchell said.

Mr Fiannaca told the jury that the relationship between Mr Heijne and his younger lover was pivotal to Cianciosi's death.

"The accused (Mr Heijne) was obsessed with this man and not Mr Cianciosi," Mr Fiannaca said.

He said Mr Heijne wanted a different life and believed Cianciosi was an obstacle to this.

The trial, which is set for three weeks, continues today.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,,25504479-17044,00.html


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