Alleged Jayde hitman's fingerprint found on bank slip

2016-11-01 17:35

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Port Elizabeth – Fingerprints found on bundles of cash to pay for an alleged hit on schoolteacher Jayde Panayiotou did not belong to those suspected of her murder, a forensic expert told the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

However, a fingerprint found on a deposit slip around the time of her murder matched the alleged hitman’s prints, Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker testified for the State.

He was tasked with working out the events that took place after Jayde’s body was found in a field near KwaNobuhle on April 22 2015.

He said he was asked to analyse a black gym bag that the alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, used to carry the money.

After checking for DNA on the bag, he opened it and found three knotted socks. They contained three bundles of R10 000 each, in R100 and R200 notes.

"I have investigated thousands of bank notes in my career and it is one of the most difficult items to investigate," he said.

He would have had to swab each note on the front, back, and all four edges. This would have damaged any other trace evidence.

Bekker decided to collect DNA from the socks and one bundle of notes, rather than from each note. He cut the toe area of the sock to access the money and left the knot intact to recover possible DNA.

Bekker lifted four fingerprints off the notes, but they did not match any of the suspects.

Prosecutor Marius Stander said it seemed the success rate of fingerprint recovery was very low.

Usable prints

"The fraud countermeasures make it very hard to get prints off notes," Bekker replied.

"Normally, it is only when fingers have been in contact with foreign contaminants or things such as blood that you get usable prints."

Jayde’s husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty.

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman Siyoni hired, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni had since turned State witness.

Siyoni’s girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast had said in her statements to police that he gave her a bag to count out the R50 000 for Vumazonke. She divided the remaining R30 000 into three equal stacks and placed them in the socks.

During testimony in court last week, she denied any of this. At Stander’s request, the court declared her a hostile witness. She was arrested and charged with perjury.

Bekker told the court he had examined Vumazonke’s wallet and found banking slips. Two slips showed deposits on April 20 and 22, with his name and surname as a reference. A receipt showed a cash deposit at an ATM.

He received a set of Vumazonke’s fingerprints for comparison. His left middle fingerprint matched a print on the back of a deposit slip. This confirmed that Vumazonke made the deposits.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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