Cop accused of asking Panayiotou's dad for money

2016-11-28 21:50
Christopher Panayiotou alongside his co-accused in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

Christopher Panayiotou alongside his co-accused in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

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Port Elizabeth – Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou’s lawyer on Monday accused a police officer of borrowing money and taking food from his client’s father.

During cross-examination, Terry Price accused Warrant Officer Leon Eksteen of asking for money from Costa Panayiotou, to organise a helicopter to help look for Christopher’s wife Jayde the day she went missing.

Eksteen denied this. He said Costa had asked him to arrange for a helicopter to help search for Jayde. He arranged a charter helicopter for R3 000. 

Eksteen said when they wanted to use the helicopter the following day, it could not take off due to heavy mist. Eksteen said he returned Costa’s money later that afternoon. A police helicopter was used in the search.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde. The alleged hitman, Sizwe Vumazonke, died in hospital in September.

The 29-year-old teacher was kidnapped from outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School on Tuesday, April 21 last year. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage, the following day.

Eksteen denied Price’s claim that he regularly borrowed money from the Panayiotous.

“The family will say that you constantly borrowed money,” said Price. He challenged him to look Costa and his wife Fanoula in the eye and tell them he never borrowed money from them.

Eksteen said he had already answered the question. 

Price claimed that Eksteen took food from the Panayiotous. Eksteen said he had visited Costa on numerous occasions, and at times Costa would have a hamburger and give him one as well.

“If someone comes to my house for a braai, I am not going to charge them to eat with me,” he said.

Price emphasised how Panayiotou was called a “poes”. Price insisted on using the word even after Eksteen confirmed this was part of a transcript, referring to it as the “p-word”.

“No, not p,” said Price.

“Poes. Kry daai poes [Get that poes],” he said, referring to a transcript in which an unidentified man said the word.

Jayde's mother and sister left the court during the exchange. 

Threat

Price first referred to the transcripts of recordings of calls between the alleged middleman in the murder, Luthando Siyoni, and Panayiotou on April 28 and April 29, 2015.

He referred to extracts where Eksteen told Siyoni what to say. Price highlighted a section where Eksteen told Siyoni he would go to jail for 25 years.

Eksteen pointed out that he clearly told Siyoni this was not a threat.

“Unfortunately that is what happens to someone who is convicted of murder, they go to jail,” he said.

Price asked if it was not necessary for the person to go on trial first. Eksteen pointed out that Siyoni had confessed his involvement in the case. 

“Did you not tell the family that Siyoni had been roughed up a bit by that stage?” asked Price.

Eksteen said he could not recall.

Price said he intended playing a recording the Panayiotous made of him in which he said this.

The trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday at 11:00.

 

Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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