Alleged Panayiotou hitman dies

2016-09-07 13:28
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke. (News24)

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke. (News24)

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Port Elizabeth - The alleged hitman in the murder of Jayde Panayiotou, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, has died in a Port Elizabeth hospital after he fell into a coma earlier, the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed on Wednesday.

"We can confirm that he died at hospital this morning. The nature of his illness has not yet been confirmed as we are still awaiting a toxicology report," spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza told News24.

Ndwalaza said Vumazonke's death would not affect the court case and the rescheduled pre-trial conference would continue next week as planned.

"We know people are concerned with the case. Everything will still proceed as planned with the pre-trial conference on the 15th this month and then the trial on 10 October until 2 December."

The last time the case was before the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday, the court heard that Vumazonke had fallen into a coma.

Hospitalised

The three other accused, Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko appeared briefly before Judge Glen Goosen for their pre-trial, before the case was again postponed.

The four stand accused of orchestrating the murder of Jayde Panayiotou in April 2015.

The August pre-trial hearing was previously postponed because Vumazonke had apparently been suffering from an unknown illness for weeks and had been violently ill in the holding cells. He had struggled up the stairs and appeared to have lost a lot of weight.

Prosecutor Marius Stander told Judge Goosen that Vumazonke had been hospitalised after his last court appearance, and had since slipped into a coma.

He said the State did not have a doctor's certificate, but that a number of tests had been done and they were waiting on a toxicology report.

"The medical practitioner of accused number two [Vumazonke] has not issued a certificate as he cannot precisely indicate what is wrong with him," he said.

Addressing Goosen on her client's illness Advocate Hannelie Bakker confirmed Stander's report.

Bakker had previously said that she had tried to communicate with Vumazonke before his last appearance but that he had not been able to give her instructions.

She said according to Nenembe, who apparently shares a cell with Vumazonke at St Albans, her client had been ill for two weeks before his appearance in August, was very weak and battled to walk.

Goosen remanded the matter to September 15 for the pre-trial.

Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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