Christopher Panayiotou did not look upset - witness

2016-11-03 22:14
Jayde Panayiotou. (Facebook)

Jayde Panayiotou. (Facebook)

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Port Elizabeth - Jayde Panayiotou's husband Christopher showed no emotion the day her body was found, a family friend told the High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Pieter Bekker, who had been married into the Panayiotou family but then divorced, explained that when he heard Jayde went missing on 21 April 2015, he joined the search for her. She was a teacher at Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage. 

He told the court he first he checked with Christopher whether he and Jayde had argued and she had gone for a walk.

He was testifying in the trial of Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty. She was found shot dead in a veld near KwaNobuhle the next day.

He and a person called Claudio searched the back areas of Greenbushes, where he works, and ended up near KwaNobuhle.

He told an old detective friend that Jayde may have been kidnapped. The friend suggested they look at the old abandoned places and quiet roads in the area. He suggested that Christopher also checks Jayde's bank records.

Later, they received information that Jayde’s bank card had been used at an ATM in KwaNobuhle around 13:00 and that there would be a photo of the person who used it.

Once a photograph had been obtained from the ATM, which later turned out to be the wrong person, Bekker suggested to a police officer he knew from school that a reward be offered.

Bekker, a mechanic who worked with him, and Claudio, continued the search. They stopped people to ask if they had seen Jayde and to tell them about the reward. 

“We assumed at that time it was a kidnapping situation for money and Christopher was at home in case of contact,” he continued.

They stopped at 02:00 on April 22 and went home. Around 07:00 they continued searching, and got a call saying her body had been found. Ironically, it was close to where they had been looking the night before.

Not very emotional

“When I got there, I saw Chris was with Demitri [his uncle]. Demitri looked quite cut up about it, but Chris, I don't know if he was in shock, but he was not very emotional.”

Panayiotou's lawyer Terry Price would not let that comment stand. He asked if Bekker was suggesting that Panayiotou was not upset about Jayde's death.

“He didn't look like it,” said Bekker.

Showing an aerial view of the murder scene, Price placed Bekker at the cattle grid, a distance away from Christopher, who was standing at the gate. He said Christopher had not seen his wife's body yet.

“I put it to you that when Christopher Panayiotou saw his wife, he cried, his father cried, and that Derrick Inggs [Jayde's father] cried, and they hugged each other. Can you dispute that?”

Bekker said simply: “No”.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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