Undercover cop spied on Panayiotou in prison, court hears

2017-04-24 19:35
Christopher Panayiotou (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Christopher Panayiotou (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - Details of a failed undercover operation to spy on murder accused Christopher Panayiotou and his mistress Chanelle Coutts came to light in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday during the cross-examination of a member of the organised crime detectives.

Panayiotou and his co-accused - Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko - are facing charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, robbing and killing his wife Jayde.

She was abducted outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park and later murdered in a field near KwaNobuhle on April 21, 2015.

A fourth suspect, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, the alleged hitman, died before the trial began.

Moegamat Armien Humphries, a detective in the organised crime division, was called by State advocate Marius Stander to testify in the trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of a recording of Panayiotou and his bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, the alleged middleman-turned-State-witness shortly after Jayde's murder.

Humphries testified to how he had transported Siyoni's girlfriend, Babalwa Breakfast, to visit Siyoni while he was being held in protective custody at the Humewood Police Station.

AS IT HAPPENED: SMSes between Panayiotou and Siyoni scrutinised in trial

Hidden camera

He also told the court how he had been part of a delegation that had visited Siyoni in September 2016, when Siyoni had gone on a hunger strike and refused to eat the food the police were serving.

During cross examination, however, defence advocate Terry Price questioned Humphries about a previous affidavit he had made, relating to an incident where he had been sent undercover to the North End Prison to spy on Panayiotou and Coutts.

Humphries confirmed that he had gone to the prison on February 13, 2016, under instruction from investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel.

He confirmed that he had been wearing a prisoner's outfit and had been given a broom to sweep the floor in the visiting room of the prison.

Humphries said he had also been equipped with a hidden camera and had been given instructions to try and sweep the floor near the couple and get footage of them interacting.

He told the court he had not been successful, however, as he could not get close enough to eavesdrop and the camera had failed to capture any useable footage as it was pointing up too high.

After Humphries' testimony, the court adjourned.

It is set to reconvene on Wednesday, when Price is expected to begin his cross-examination of Swanepoel.

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

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