Jade Panayiotou: 10 things to know about the case

21 April 2017

It's two years to the day since the beloved school teacher's mysterious disappearance – and the subsequent shocking discovery of her body.

It's two years to the day since the beloved school teacher's mysterious disappearance – and the subsequent shocking discovery of her body.

And the trial of those accused of her brutal killing drags on. The trial resumed in the Port Elizabeth High Court this week, where the pretty brunette's husband faces charges of masterminding her murder.

Here are 10 key facts about the case:

1. On 22 April 2015, the body of 28-year-old Jayde Panayiotou, from Port Elizabeth, was found in a field in Kwanobuhle, close to Uitenhage.

2. She disappeared around 06.30 on the morning of 21 April, while waiting for a lift club that would transport her to Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, where she was a grade 7 teacher.

3. It wasn't the first attempt at kidnapping her. Sizwe Vumazonke, the accused murderer who died last year, said in his statement that they experienced ‘problems’. Apparently, they regularly missed Jayde while she waited for her transport in the morning. Jayde and her best friend and colleague, Cherise Swanepoel, took turns driving to the school and back.

4. The forensic pathologist Kevin Fourie, who performed the post-mortem examination on Jayde on 23 April 2015, testified that the shots to her skull and chest caused her death. She was shot three times. Bullets also hit her in the back and lungs. The bullet that passed through her head, entered on the left side and exited on the other. She also had a heavy blow to the head.

5. More than 200 policemen were involved in the investigation and a reward of R150 000 was promised to anyone with information.

6. Her husband, Christopher Panayiotou, is alleged to be the mastermind behind her kidnapping and murder. His fellow accused are Sinethembe Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. Christopher was formally charged with Jayde’s murder on 4 May 2015.

7. Christopher’s eulogy at her funeral was copied from one by Charles Atkin, entitled ‘My Sweet Wife’s Eulogy’, which was dated back to October 2010. He explained that he ‘is not good with words’.

8. Cherise Swanepoel, Jayde’s friend and colleague, previously told investigating officer, Lt Kanna Swanepoel, that Jayde was lonely. But this claim was never investigated. Cherise testified that Jayde’s loneliness was due to Christopher always working. She would try to stay up till he got home so that they could eat dinner together. Jayde would also stay in her work outfit and not change into pyjamas so that Christopher could see her in ‘normal clothes'.

9. Clarishka Kapp, a friend of Christopher’s mistress, Chanelle Coutts, described him as a generous man. He would buy Polo handbags of R2000 each, a watch and send Chanelle to expensive hairstylists.

10. On 14 November 2016, the court heard that Christopher Panayiotou wanted his wife dead and paid R80 000 to have her murdered.

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