Panayiotou's alleged hitman in a coma

2016-09-05 11:16
Jayde Panayiotou (Facebook)

Jayde Panayiotou (Facebook)

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Port Elizabeth - The alleged hitman in the murder of Jayde Panayiotou, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, has slipped into a coma after being hospitalised following his appearance at the Port Elizabeth High Court.

He is currently under police protection.

The three other accused, Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko appeared briefly before Judge Glen Goosen for their pre-trial on Monday morning, before the case was again postponed. 

The four stand accused of orchestrating the murder of Jayde Panayiotou in April last year. 

The August pre-trial hearing was postponed to Monday because Vumazonke had apparently been suffering from an unknown illness for weeks and had been violently ill in the holding cells. He had struggled up the stairs and appeared to have lost a lot of weight.

Prosecutor Marius Stander told Judge Goosen that Vumazonke had been hospitalised after his last court appearance, and had since slipped into a coma. He said Vumazonke was currently under police protection at the Livingstone hospital.

He said the state did not have a doctor's certificate, but that a number of tests had been done and they were waiting on a toxicology report. 

"The medical practitioner of accused number two (Vumazonke) has not issued a certificate as he cannot precisely indicate what is wrong with him," he said.

Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in the Port Elizabeth High Court. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Sibeko was again at pains to keep his face hidden from the media, keeping his head down and hands over his face both before and after proceedings when photos were allowed to be taken.

Addressing Goosen on her client's illness Advocate Hannelie Bakker confirmed Stander's report.

Bakker had previously said that she had tried to communicate with Vumazonke before his last appearance but that he had not been able to give her instructions.

She said according to Nenembe, who apparently shares a cell with Vumazonke at St Albans, her client had been ill for two weeks before his appearance in August, was very weak and battled to walk. 

Goosen remanded the matter to September 15 for the pre-trial.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  court

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