Handsome ‘charmer’ Nicholas Vandermerwe, 29, was accused of killing Simon Law almost nine years ago on the orders of the accountants’ former business associate.
It was claimed in court that the contract was taken out by David Jenkins, who owed Law tens of thousands of pounds.
South African Vandermerwe and friend Glen Chaite, 41, were said to have driven away from Law’s isolated farmhouse with his body in the boot of a borrowed car.
But Vandermerwe was cleared of the killing yesterday after telling the jury that he was in London when 35 year old Oxford graduate accountant was killed.
He claimed that Chaite, a former member of South Africa’s SAS-style Reconnaissance Commando unit, later confessed to the killing when they met up in Johannesburg.
Vandermerwe, who has served in the South African air force, went to California following the disappearance, where he worked on films like ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ and the ‘Mike Hammer’ TV series.
Chaite was arrested for the killing after he returned to South Africa, but hanged himself in jail using a holdall handle before he could be extradited to Britain.
Mr Law vanished from his home at Beach Tree Farm, near Elmstead, Kent in April, 1991.Prosecutor David Waters QC, said the accountant who also owned a property in London’s Blackheath, had demanded the repayment of cash from Jenkins by the end of that month.
The debt had allegedly been incurred when the two worked with a company called International Container Leasing Ltd.
Law also had dangerous information about Jenkins – he knew he had been involved in illegal currency dealing for which he could face prosecution in South Africa, the jury heard.
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