Port Elizabeth – Christopher Panayiotou's version of events relating to a damning recording of an exchange between him and an alleged middleman turned State witness came into question in court this week.
This while notes by his murdered wife Jayde spoke of her deep unhappiness in her marriage.
In his application for bail based on new facts, Panayiotou stated that he had been coerced to meet with Luthando Siyoni by family friend and police officer, Leon Eksteen - whom he accused of acting as a double agent - along with the original investigating officer, identified as Koen.
Investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel, in his affidavit read into record in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, said Panayiotou maintained that he had been urged by Eksteen to meet with Siyoni.
Swanepoel described how Siyoni had agreed to turn State witness and had contacted Panayiotou after the murder.
“During the evening of 28 April, 2015 Siyoni was given a phone, from which the caller ID had been removed, to contact [Panayiotou], but [Panayiotou] said he couldn’t speak as he had family with him. Shortly after 20:30 Siyoni was handed his own phone and he sent a SMS message to [Panayiotou]. This message read as follows: “Boss ìf am arrestd thy wil mak me talk nd they wl b after u.” [sic]
Desperate phone calls
Swanepoel said although Panayiotou had not called Siyoni back immediately, the following day he noted a number of missed calls on Siyoni’s cellphone from Panayiotou, as well as a missed call from the landline of the OK Grocer in Algoa Park.
“I arranged for Siyoni to be brought to our offices. Siyoni again sent a SMS to [Panayiotou] that read as follows: 'Why are takng so long.i stell need cash boss.pls.or ì cn come2 u bt nt ok'." [sic]
Swanepoel said Siyoni had later spoken to Panayiotou and Panayiotou had arranged to meet in Cape Road, but later changed the venue.
He said that while Panayiotou had informed Eksteen that Siyoni had phoned him, at no stage was either Koen or Eksteen informed by Panayiotou that he had made arrangements or received a request from Siyoni to meet him.
“At no stage did either Koen or Eksteen suggest or encourage [Panayiotou] to meet with Siyoni in order to build a case against Siyoni. The meeting point was determined by [Panayiotou],” he said.
Swanepoel also pointed out how Panayiotou had only told Koen of his meeting with Siyoni afterwards, and had given the incorrect vehicle registration details and told the police that Siyoni was going to East London, when Siyoni had told him he was planning on going to Jeffreys Bay.
“If [Panayiotou] intended to obtain information from Siyoni in order to assist the police to build a case against Siyoni surely he would not give Siyoni R5 000 or search Siyoni for the presence of a recording device.
“If the plan was to obtain information from Siyoni surely [Panayiotou] would want a witness in the form of his uncle. Lastly if it was the intention to gather information for the police to build a case against Siyoni surely one would expect [Panayiotou] to convey the content of the conversation to Eksteen and Koen as a matter of urgency. This was not done,” said Swanepoel.
Jayde's deep sadness
It also emerged in court that Jayde Panayiotou wrote of how her husband was “impossible to communicate with”, how she felt that he hid her and didn’t put her first, the Herald newspaper in Port Elizabeth reported.
In September 2014, she wrote that she was jealous when she saw other people living the life “I so desperately long for”.
"I don't know if I can live this life. I don’t know how much more I can take," she also wrote.
"I write these words because I no longer have space inside. I may just explode."
Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating Jayde’s murder in April last year. It is alleged he hired Siyoni, who worked as a bouncer at the Infinity night club, to organise someone to murder her. Siyoni allegedly hired Sizwezakhe Vumazonke to carry out the hit.
A fourth suspect, Sinethemba Nenemba, was linked to the case late last year.