Expert: Jayde was crouching when shot dead

2016-11-01 11:31
The accused in the Panayiotou case. (Derrick Spies, News24)

The accused in the Panayiotou case. (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Schoolteacher Jayde Panayiotou was likely crouching when she was shot dead in a field, a forensic expert told the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker, called by the State, was tasked with working out the sequence of events that took place before her body was found near KwaNobuhle on April 22 2015.

She disappeared from outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, a day earlier while waiting for her lift to work in Uitenhage.

"Using the information available, it is my deduction that the deceased was in a crouching position when shot," he told prosecutor Marius Stander.

He said based on the post-mortem and ballistics, the three shots fired all had a downward trajectory.

Using the available evidence and her height, 1.58m, he ruled out the possibility that she was shot while standing.

On Monday the court heard he found Jayde fully dressed; her legs together. Her right arm was slightly extended. Her left arm was over her chest, clenched in a fist.

She was shot three times, in the chest, arm and head. Bekker said the bullet wound to the head showed she was shot in close proximity to the ground.

Blood drops

READ: Emotions run high as Jayde's body is shown

On Tuesday he said a deep partial depression of Jayde's shoe was found at the scene.

"My theory is that she was crouched with her left heel off the ground," he said. "This is supported by the compressed dirt found on the ball of her left foot. It is further supported by the mud stains on the back of her tracksuit pants."

Her pants were otherwise relatively clean. There was no soil on her knees to suggest she was kneeling.

Bekker said the bullet wound to her chest explained the two blood drops on her shoe and strengthened the notion that she was crouching.

"From the crouching position it is a very natural process to move into the position that the body was found."

He showed the court a graphic of a crouching person falling backward onto their back.

Bekker was also present at the post-mortem. He collected Jayde's clothing, shoes, socks and other samples taken by a doctor. Her tracksuit pants were examined for fingerprints but none were found.

Her husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Jayde. They pleaded not guilty.

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September.

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

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