Trial of Christopher Panayiotou’s accused of orchestrating wife’s murder resumes

African News Agency (ANA)

Trial of Christopher Panayiotou’s accused of orchestrating wife’s murder resumes
PHOTO: Raahil Sain

The trial of businessman Christopher Panayiotou, who is accused of orchestrating the murder of his schoolteacher wife Jayde, and his two co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko resumes Monday in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Defence Advocate Terry Price is expected to cross examine state witness Clarishka Kapp – a close friend of Panayiotou’s mistress, Chanelle Coutts. Last week in her testimony Kapp revealed details of the intimate relationship between the accused and her friend.

Kapp told the court how she accompanied Coutts and Christopher Panayiotou when they traveled to George during September 2014, to celebrate her birthday.

She told the prosecution that the trio slept over for two nights at a hotel and she would sleep in a room on the bottom floor while Christopher and Coutts shared a room on an upper floor.

Kapp said that she was also aware of an escapade in which Christopher and Coutts spent time together in Summerstrand, situated along the beachfront in Port Elizabeth.

Kapp said Christopher Panayiotou confided in her that he loved Coutts and that the feeling “was mutual”.

She said Christopher Panayiotou bought her friend expensive gifts that included Polo bags, a watch and a GHD, which cost thousands of rand.

During Kapp’s testimony, Christopher Panayiotou dropped his head, stared at the floor and at one point his ears appeared to turn blood red.

Kapp also produced a photo she had stored on her phone of Christopher Panayiotou and Coutts in bed together – just five days after Jayde went missing.

The body of the Grade 7 teacher at Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage was later found by police after a massive search.

“I went to the OK Grocer, Chanelle wanted to speak to me, she was very freaked out because she had been with the police. She was scared her phone was tapped,” said Kapp.

Kapp said she went home and deleted the photo.

Price interjected on two occasions saying that parts of Kapp’s evidence amounted to hearsay.

It is alleged that Christopher Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.

The State alleges that Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and murder Jayde at the behest of her husband, Christopher Panayiotou.

Siyoni has since turned States witness.

After being driven to a remote area on the outskirts of Kwanobuhle, where the alleged killing took place, the State claims that Vumazaonke fired two shots through Jayde’s back and one shot through her head.

The accused face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition. The men have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

Christopher Panayiotou, who was arrested shortly after his wife’s murder more than a year ago, faces an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice.

Sibeko was the last suspect to be arrested, 15 months after the murder. He was apparently linked to the murder through cellphone mapping, which places him outside Jayde’s complex in the days before her murder. However, his exact role in the events is still unclear.

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SOURCE African News Agency (ANA)