Luthando Siyoni, the self-confessed middleman who helped plan the murder of Jayde Panayiotou on behalf of her husband Christopher, has finally been taken into custody.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni said Siyoni had been arrested by members of the Hawks' Serious Organised Crime unit in Kwazakhele around 14:00 on Monday.
Siyoni had his immunity as a Section 204 witness revoked in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth in November last year by Judge Dayalin Chetty.
Siyoni’s conduct was harshly criticised by Judge Chetty who, in the judgment, called his testimony "a cocktail of lies, perjury and contrivances" designed to advance Panayiotou's defence.
Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nenembe were found guilty of Jayde's murder, while Zolani Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. The fourth accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September 2016, before the trial began.
Jayde was abducted in front of her Stellen Glen home on April 21, 2015. She was then taken to a remote area, where she was shot three times - twice in the back and once in the head.
Siyoni’s role in Jayde’s murder
Siyoni was the first suspect arrested in connection with Jayde's murder. He confessed to his role in sourcing a hitman, and implicated Panayiotou as the one behind the plan to have her murdered.
A video of a meeting between Siyoni and Panayiotou during a police operation was hotly contested in a trial-within-a-trial, before being ruled admissible. It played a significant role in proving Panayiotou's guilt in his wife’s murder.
In his Section 204 statement, Siyoni described how he had been approached by Panayiotou to source a hitman to murder his wife, and how, after a few failed attempts, he had contracted Vumazonke to commit the act.
Lied in court
However, when it came to testifying in court, Siyoni told a completely different story, talking about how he and Vumazonke were involved in a deal to buy gym weights.
Siyoni testified for six days in November 2016, during which he spent two days refusing to answer any questions put to him by State advocate Marius Stander.
During cross-examination, Siyoni said he had been assaulted by police and forced into making a confession.
Feni said Siyoni would appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on a charge of murder.
Panayiotou's long awaited appeal against his guilty verdict, is scheduled to be heard in the High Court on May 16.