‘Panayiotou was scared to lose mistress, joked about escaping marriage’

2016-10-13 13:46
Marius Stander chats to Panayiotou’s attorney Alwyn Griebenow. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Marius Stander chats to Panayiotou’s attorney Alwyn Griebenow. (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou loved his mistress, bought her expensive gifts and had her over at his marital home a few times, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Thursday.

Clarishka Kapp, a friend of “mistress” Chanelle Coutts, said Panayiotou had told her he was worried about losing her when he married his wife Jayde.

She was testifying for the State, and being questioned by prosecutor Marius Stander.

Panayiotou told her he loved Coutts, his store manager at the OK Grocer in Algoa Park, Kapp said.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde, a schoolteacher, on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty.

She was kidnapped while waiting for her lift outside her Stellen Glen complex, in Deacon Road, in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth.

Kapp lived in Algoa Park and worked at Don Marco, an upmarket boutique clothing store, in Walmer Park. She and Coutts had been friends since Grade 3.

“Chanelle introduced us. He was her boss at the OK Grocer. And that is how we came to be friends.”

Expensive gifts

At first the relationship between Coutts and Panayiotou was professional, but this dynamic changed.

“They were very friendly with each other, more so than what a manager and an employee should be.”

Kapp said they bought gifts for each other. “All the gifts he bought for her were expensive.”

She mentioned Polo handbags valued at least R1 000, a watch worth around R2 000, and a GHD hair straightener worth around R2 000.

Hotels, sleepovers

Stander asked her to recall Coutts’ reaction the day Panayiotou asked Jayde to be his wife. Kapp said she did not seem upset. She was upset when they got married shortly after that. Kapp believed this was because they were in a relationship.

“We did talk about it on the wedding day and she was very upset.”

She also spoke to Panayiotou.

“It went over the fact that he didn’t know if he made the right decision, because he was scared he would lose Chanelle. He made a joke that I must come and kidnap him”.

Panayiotou stared at the floor as she spoke.

Kapp said the friendship between the three of them continued as normal after the marriage. She had drinks with Coutts at Panayiotou’s marital home while Jayde was at her mother’s place.

Jayde was out two other times. Kapp brought over takeaways for the trio one time. On another occasion Panayiotou invited them over for a braai.

“Do you know if Chanelle ever slept over at his house?” asked Stander.

She replied “yes” and murmurs were heard in the public gallery.

“Every time she slept over at him, she would tell her mom she was sleeping over at my place.”

Kapp did not know where Jayde was during these sleepovers.

The three spent two nights in George for Coutts’ birthday in September 2014. She slept downstairs while the couple slept in the upper room, she said. The two apparently also stayed at a hotel in Summerstrand.

Panayiotou apparently got jealous when he saw Coutts chatting to someone else on Facebook.

The three spent time together at Infinity Cocktail Bar, which Panayiotou owned, and which was near the OK Grocer.

When Coutts’ sister Cindy got married, she took Panayiotou along as her date. More murmurs came from the gallery.

Panayiotou looked up briefly and then stared back down.

Tertia Macomo, a police officer at Kabega Park police station, earlier testified that Panayiotou said in an affidavit that he got home the night before the murder and found Jayde awake in bed with their dogs.

He went to work on his laptop and went to bed at midnight. He was still asleep when she got up for work the next morning.

Marilyn Woods, principal of Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage, testified that Jayde was an extremely dedicated teacher.

“She always threw herself into her work with a smile on her face.”

The trial continues.


Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  crime

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