Panayiotou's 'disinheritance' discussed at murder trial

2016-11-29 15:35
Christopher Panayiotou with his co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in court. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Christopher Panayiotou with his co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in court. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth – The issue of Christopher Panayiotou’s disinheritance took centre stage during the second day of the cross-examination of police officer Leon Eksteen.

Eksteen, a one-time friend of the Panayiotou family, who became part of the investigative task team, once again came under fire from Advocate Terry Price on Tuesday.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Panayiotou's wife Jayde. The alleged hitman, Sizwe Vumazonke, died in hospital in September.

The 29-year-old teacher was kidnapped from outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School on Tuesday, April 21, last year. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle township in Uitenhage the following day.

Family secretly recorded cop

Price began by asking Eksteen what had happened during the time that alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni had been at the Organised Crime offices on April 28 and 29 last year. He pointed out that the recordings which Eksteen had made were less than half an hour in length, but that Siyoni had spent more than 10 hours at the office over the two days.

Eksteen said he had not been present during the time Siyoni was at the offices, as he had been busy with other police duties.

Price also asked Eksteen if he had shown Siyoni photographs of Jayde’s body, which Eksteen denied. Price then played an audio recording to the court, where Eksteen had been recorded without his knowledge during a conversation with Costa Panayiotou and others.

Price asked Eksteen if he recognised his voice, and then played a piece where Eksteen can be heard saying he placed photos in front of Siyoni, one by one. Eksteen again denied having placed the photos in front of Siyoni, saying he had not had access to them.

Price then challenged Eksteen about how he had told Costa that Siyoni had been roughed up. State prosecutor Marius Stander objected, pointing out that the transcript said Eksteen had said, "Ons het hom nie gemoer nie, miskien het ander hom bietjie rof hanteer. (We did not assault him, maybe someone else handled him roughly.)"

Threat of disinheritance

Price then challenged Eksteen about where he had mentioned that Costa Panayiotou, Chris’ father, had threatened to disinherit Chris.

Eksteen explained that he had been approached by Costa, who had suspected that Chris was having an affair and wanted to know who his son had gone to East London with. Eksteen said he had confirmed the affair and that Chris had gone with Chanelle Coutts. Eksteen said when he had told Costa, he was furious and had said he was cutting his son off.

Eksteen said Costa had also avoided his son after finding out about the affair and had avoided going to the OK Grocer where his son worked.

"He said he wanted nothing to do with him," he said.

Price said that nowhere in Eksteen’s explanation had he mentioned the word "disinherit" and yet the State had used his statement to argue that the threat of disinheritance was part of the motive.

Eksteen said that he understood that when Costa had said he wanted nothing to do with Chris, it meant he was disinheriting him.

Price asked Eksteen if he was aware that Costa had made a statement that the conversation had never taken place, and that he did not have a will, so he could not disinherit his son.

Eksteen remained adamant that the conversation had taken place and stuck to his statement.

The trial continues.

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

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