Jayde treated for depression, ‘battling to cope’


Jayde Panayiotou told her family doctor of 20 years that she was feeling down and battling to cope, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Wednesday.

Dr Bruce du Plessis, a GP practicing in Uitenhage and the State’s second witness, told the court he gave her medication.

Prosecutor Marius Stander asked him about Jayde’s state of mind before her death on April 21 2015.

Read more: ‘I don’t know how much more I can take’: Heartbreaking letter Jayde Panayiotou wrote before her death revealed

Terry Price, for murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou, jumped up to object to the question on the basis that Du Plessis was not a psychiatrist.

Judge Dayalin Chetty said Price could ask him about his qualifications during cross-examination.

Symptoms of depression

Du Plessis said he treated Jayde for depression. The first treatment was on May 8 2014.

Stander wanted to know how it came about that Jayde discussed her mental state with him.

Du Plessis said Jayde had come to see him about an eye problem and mentioned she was feeling down and battling to cope with everything.

He said he asked his patients if they could identify with some of the symptoms of depression. He said he never asked them specifics, as often they did not want to discuss them.

Read more: ‘I’m not guilty – I loved my wife’: Christopher Panayiotou

He prescribed anti-depression medication for Jayde that day. The prescription was for one month and he told her to return to evaluate its effect.

She came back on June 5 2014 and said she felt a lot better. They decided to extend the medication for a further five months, with the intent of tapering it off toward December.

However, she only saw him again on April 16 2015. Du Plessis said she asked specifically for the same anti-depression tablets.

Price elected not to cross-examine the doctor and he was dismissed.

Jayde’s husband Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing the 29-year-old school teacher on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty.

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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