'I thought Christopher was a good man,' Jayde's dad testifies in tears


Jayde Panayiotou's father Derrick Inngs wept as he testified in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.

His school teacher daughter was kidnapped on 21 April 2015. Her body was found the next day in a field. Derrick was emotional as he was questioned about his relationship with his son-in-law Christopher, who stands accused of masterminding Jayde's murder. "Yes, he was a friend and I considered him a good man," he said.

Later, when asked about assisting Panayiotou with the shop-fitting at the Infinity Lounge, Inggs said he had done it and had not charged him, because "he is my son".

Read more: ‘She loved him very, very much’: Friend tells how ‘lonely Jayde’ would wait up for Christopher

According to reports, Derrick looked directly at Christopher during his testimony. In turn, Christopher avoided eye contact.

Derrick was also questioned about the R240 000 he and his wife had given Jayde, to help pay off her car and the purchase of a new house that her businessman husband were buying.

Prosecutor Marius Stander produced bank statements to assist with his questioning of her father Derrick Inggs over the flow of money between them and Jayde.

Read more: This is how Jayde Panayiotou died

The first was a withdrawal of R40 000 which Inggs said had been to assist his daughter to pay off an account for her car.

The second was a payment of R100 000 from her mother Michelle and the third was another R100 000 that Derrick had given her, which he had accessed from a bond account.

"Jayde told us they needed this money for the transfer fees and my wife and I decided to give it to her," said Derrick .

"So the R200k was for the house?" asked Stander.

"That is correct," said Derrick.

Search for Jayde

An emotional Derrick had told the court earlier that he had considered Christopher as a friend.

"Yes, he was a friend and I considered him a good man," he said.

Later, when asked about assisting Panayiotou with the shop-fitting at the Infinity Lounge, Derrick said he had done it and had not charged him, because "he is my son".

When the court adjourned briefly, to allow Sinethemba Nenembe to go to the toilet, Derrick stood arms folded in the witness box, while Michelle and Toni, Jayde’s mother and sister, remained standing in the public gallery.

Derrick confirmed that after Jayde's disappearance on April 21 2016 he, and a friend and Christopher were sitting at KwaNobuhle to check out ATMs, and search for Jayde in that area.

"I said at that time, come guys let's go have some coffee."

They had coffee at the Inggs' home in Uitenhage, and decided to go out again.

Panayiotou said he was going to leave in his vehicle to fetch his bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, and to go to Njoli Square, because Siyoni knew the area.

Asked police

Inggs said he and his friend went back to check the ATM but after finding nothing, they decided to join Christopher's search party.

By then Panayiotou's family had joined, and Derrick said he felt "very much in the way" and did not know who the bouncer was.

They drove up and down, passed a police van and told them that they were looking for Jayde, at one point even getting lost, in their search, he said.

"We drove up and down nearly every street in the area looking, but never saw anything."

They went home at 04:00 to rest and when he woke up, Christopher was sleeping in Jayde's old bed.

The court was abuzz during the adjournment that followed, with everyone chatting among themselves.

The benches were full, except the front, where the Panayiotou family usually sat.

The 28-year-old school teacher disappeared from outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21 2016, while waiting for her lift to work in Uitenhage.

She was found dead in a veld the following day.

Panayiotou is on trial with Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. All three have pleaded not guilty to conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing her.

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou's Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.


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