Panayiotou’s happy marriage an illusion - State

2016-10-11 15:43
Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou. (Derrick Spies, News24)

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WATCH: Panayiotou and co-accused enter the dock

2016-10-11 11:00

Christopher Panayiotou, accused of orchestrating his wife's murder on 21 April 2015, arrived at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday for day one of his trial, with co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. Watch. WATCH

Port Elizabeth – While the marriage between Christopher Panayiotou and his slain wife Jayde appeared happy to the outside world, the truth was a lot sadder, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Tuesday.

Panayiotou was having an affair with his co-worker Chanelle Coutts and was “de facto married to her”, prosecutor Marius Stander told the court. Coutts is a manager at the OK Grocer in Algoa Park. Panayiotou owns the store.

Stander said the relationship with Coutts began before the marriage and carried on after Jayde’s death. On a normal day, he said Jayde would leave for work while her husband was still asleep.

He would wake up later and go to the office, where he would spend most of his time with Coutts.

After work, he would first spend time with her, before returning home to his sleeping wife.

When Jayde visited her parents on their farm over weekends, Coutts would visit Panayiotou at the marital home.

Stander alleged that Panayiotou and Coutts had spent numerous weekends away at hotels and guest houses. This resulted in Jayde being "an extremely unhappy person".

The State would lead evidence to show just how unhappy she was in the marriage.

Panayiotou and his co-accused earlier pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, robbing and killing her in April last year. Panayiotou said in his plea explanation that he had loved his wife Jayde and had been falsely implicated in her death.

No plea explanations were read out for Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko.

The fourth accused, 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.

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.

Her body was found in a veld in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the next day. She had been shot three times.

The State said it would show that Panayiotou had asked Siyoni to find a hitman to murder his wife. A number of people were allegedly approached, and Vumazonke ultimately agreed to the job.

The trial continues.


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

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