Tears from owner as tracker shows hired car heading for Jayde murder scene

2016-10-24 20:26
State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

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

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Port Elizabeth - The co-owner of a car rental company in Port Elizabeth started crying when she realised one of her vehicles may have been used in the murder of Jayde Panayiotou, the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth heard on Monday.

Detective Warrant Officer Johannes Botes was testifying about the day he asked the owner Zems Car Hire if one of the co-accused in the school teacher's murder had hired a second vehicle from them.

Botes had already established that accused Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, who died in prison in September, had hired a vehicle after Jayde went missing and concluded that that vehicle could not have been used in her murder.

In the course of returning that car to Zems Botes asked Mrs Skorana, who runs the business along with her husband, if Vumazonke had hired any other vehicles from her in the past.

She said he had hired a Toyota Etios from April 9 to April 23.

Vumazonke was suspected to have been the triggerman in Jayde's murder, but he fell ill in September and slipped into a coma and died while awaiting trial in St Alban's prison. He had been arrested on May 3.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are currently on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde who went missing on April 21 last year and was found dead in a field on April 22.  She had been shot three times - twice in the back and once in her head.

Monday's testimony and cross-examination brought into sharp focus the use of technology to track an individual's movements via their cellphone and vehicle tracking history.

Satellite tracker record

READ: Alleged hitman's vehicle outside Jayde's, friend's homes

Botes told prosecutor Marius Stander that the vehicle Vumazonke had previously hired was out with a customer, so they got the customer to bring the vehicle in, and it was confiscated by the investigating officer Lieutenant Kanna Swanepoel.

Mrs Skonara had told them the vehicle had a satellite tracker, and so they checked its record for April 21, the day Jayde went missing.

According to the tracking record, there were red lines at Jayde and Christopher' home in Stellen Glen Complex in Deacon Road, Kabega Park, to indicate that the vehicle had been there.

Jayde had been waiting outside at the that time for her lift club to Uitenhage where she is a school teacher.

The trail then shows that the vehicle used the back road from Rocklands and turned on to a gravel road.

"At the farm where the deceased was murdered, I said 'now he is going to turn right'," said Botes.

"Mrs Skonara began crying, saying 'my car has been used to murder the deceased'."

"I calmed her," said Botes.

'Trial by ambush'

READ: Panayiotou and his co-accused back in court

"As I said, the car turned right and precisely where the deceased was found, there were two yellow dots where the vehicle had turned around."

To Botes, placing the vehicle where Jayde's body was found was enough information to determine that the vehicle had been used in the crime.

But Panayiotou's lawyer objected to Botes' testimony, calling it "trial by ambush".

Price exclaimed that 90% of what had been led on Monday did not appear in Botes' statement.

"This is a senior police officer who has had ample time to make a decent statement," he added.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

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Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  crime

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