'Jayde Panayiotou raised hand to plead with attackers after being shot'

2016-10-11 17:13
Jayde Panayiotou's family arrive at court. (File, News24)

Jayde Panayiotou's family arrive at court. (File, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – After being shot twice in the back, Jayde Panayiotou fell to the ground, turned and raised her hand to plead with her killers, before being shot in the head, the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.

Her mother Michelle Inggs broke down in court as prosecutor Marius Stander detailed the execution-style killing on April 21 last year. Her father Derick was also emotional.

Stander said gunshot residue was found on her left hand. Three shots were heard in a veld in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, around 07:00 that day.

Jayde, a teacher at Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, was kidnapped while waiting for her lift outside her Stellen Glen complex, in Deacon Road, in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21 last year. She was holding a bag full of schoolbooks and a laptop.

Her husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko earlier pleaded not guilty to conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing her.

Flurry of calls

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.

Stander said Siyoni and Vumazonke had made a flurry of calls to one another on the morning of the murder.

Vumazonke apparently visited a sangoma shortly after the killing to be cleansed. He had Jayde’s laptop and bag in his possession, said Stander.

A car they had rented travelled to an ATM in the area, where her bank card was used to draw money. After the first withdrawal, they split up.

The vehicle drove through Port Elizabeth and two more successful withdrawals from her account were made.

Stander said he would lead evidence that after Siyoni was informed of the murder, he went to the OK Grocer in Algoa Park to get his money. Panayiotou owns the store.

Stander said they would prove that there was a lot of telephonic contact between them until then.

Cellphone records

The State would prove that Panayiotou travelled to the store at 23:30 that night. He apparently deactivated the alarms for the grocery store and his Infinity Cocktail Bar. This was when he collected money before calling Siyoni on a different cellphone number, Stander said.

This number was only activated two days before the murder.

Once Siyoni received the money, he contacted Vumazonke and they met. The State believed this was when Vumazonke had got his share of the money.

Siyoni was arrested on April 27. Stander said police were already investigating Vumazonke at that stage. Police apparently used the sangoma as a starting point for his arrest. He fled Port Elizabeth and was arrested on his return.

The other arrests followed afterwards. Stander said he would rely heavily on cellphone records to prove his case.

Siyoni and Panayiotou were identified as suspects a day after Jayde’s body was found.

The matter was postponed until Wednesday morning, when the first State witness would testify.


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

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