GPS vehicle tracking gives timeline to Panayiotou abduction and murder

2016-11-02 17:29
State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday, as evidence about the car allegedly used to kidnap his wife was led in the High Court in Port Elizabeth.

His family brought him a birthday cake. They carried it from a coffee shop across the road from the court and entered the holding cells at the end of the day’s proceedings.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde on April 21 2015. They pleaded not guilty. The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in September.

The schoolteacher was kidnapped from outside her Stellen Glen, Kabega Park, townhouse complex while waiting for a colleague to give her a lift to work that morning. She was found shot dead in a field outside KwaNobuhle the next day.

Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker showed the court animations indicating the movements of the white Toyota Etios Vumazonke hired, based on the GPS co-ordinates obtained from the tracking device.

Car parking

READ: Tears as court is shown photos of Jayde Panayiotou’s body

Bekker used software that plotted the vehicle’s movements and superimposed it onto a roadmap.

This showed the car slowed down in Deacon Road, outside the entrance to the complex, before speeding up again to circle it several times just after 06:00.

At 06:28:36, the car veered off Deacon Road onto the curb, directly in front of the complex’s gate. The animation showed car was back on the road at 06:29:19 and continued up Deacon Road.

Bekker was asked to show the animation of the vehicle’s movements at the crime scene where Jayde’s body was found.  The car travelled slowly up the main road, before turning onto a gravel road and coming to a stop near where her body was found.

The GPS tracking showed the vehicle coming to a stop at 07:13:10. Jayde is believed to have been shot shortly thereafter.

Bekker said the car was parked at a house believed to be Vumazonke’s on numerous occasions from April 9, when it was initially hired, until April 23, when it was returned to care hire company ZEMS. The car was often at this house overnight.

The car was at Luthando Siyoni’s home on at least three occasions. Siyoni worked as a bouncer for Panayiotou at his Infinity Club. He was the alleged middleman who hired Vumazonke to murder Jayde. He has since become a State witness.

The car was at Siyoni’s house during the early morning hours on April 22, at 02:10 and at 02:27.

The trial resumes on Thursday at 09:30.

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

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