Former Panayiotou family friend takes the stand as murder trial continues
Day 33 of the Christopher Panayiotou murder trial saw the State calling Warrant Officer, Leon Eksteen, from the Port Elizabeth SAPS Organised Crime Unit to the stand. Eksteen is actually a former friend of the Panayiotou family.
Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and subsequent murder of his wife Jayde.
The Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday heard that Eksteen had been friends with Panayiotou’s parents for 16 years, and has often been invited to a few family functions.
Eksteen told the court that Christopher grew up in front of him and that he was invited to the latter’s wedding.
He said that he first got involved in the Jayde murder case after receiving a request from Panayiotou’s father, Costa, who had asked for help when Jayde went missing.
Eksteen was later approached by Investigating Officer, [insert first name] Swanepoel, to assist local police with the case.
He told the court that he was asked to record Christopher’s phone calls on his phone as he was a friend of the family and Christopher had just been implicated by Luthando Siyoni, the alleged middle-man, who has recently been declared a hostile witness.
Eksteen said that he was not aware of the nature or scope of initial questioning of Siyoni - he was just informed of the basics. He added that the investigating team then decided what information was to be conveyed to Panayiotou, and that Siyoni had to phone him to get him to implicate himself.
State Prosecutor, Marius Stander, then played the recording for the court.
Eksteen then stated that Siyoni had been assisting the SAPS of his own free will and wasn’t forced to do anything against his will.
Stander then went through a series of different recorded phone calls from Eksteen and asked him to contextualise their transcripts.
Eksteen said that they were getting full cooperation from Siyoni, and that it was his idea to use the phones to implicate Panayiotou in the first place and prove himself.
He also stated that Siyoni was never threatened in his presence.
Defence advocate, Terry Price, then proceeded with his cross-examination and began by asking him about a certain statement he had made in some of the recordings.
Price mentioned the part where Eksteen said Siyoni could go to jail for 25 years should the sting operation fail. Eksteen said that Siyoni had already confessed at that point and that he was stating a fact.
The Defence then accused Eksteen of regularly borrowing money from Costa Panayiotou, and that he had asked for money to hire a helicopter to find Jayde, when she was missing.
Eksteen vehemently denied this and sounded outraged at the accusation.
“Listen, I was friends with this family until Chris was arrested,” he inisisted.
Price will continue with his cross-examination on Tuesday and plans to play a recording that implies that Eksteen told the Panayiotou family that Siyoni had been ‘roughed up’.
The trial continues.
With approximately 1420 players in 48 A-teams, 20...
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Save South Africa, despite having the same goals of kicking President Jacob Zuma out of office, will hold different rallies today for National Freedom Day in Port Elizabeth.
One of South Africa’s most experienced cyclists...
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Deputy Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, laid charges against Municipal Manager, Johann Metler and Executive Director of Corporate Services, Vuyo Zitumane at the Humewood Police Station on Wednesday.
The Varsity Cup Dream Team was shown up against...
A full-seated crowd at the Kenneth McArthur Athletics...
The Garden Route Botanical Garden Environmental...
In response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary...
A 51-year-old, senior traffic official from the Nelson Mandela Bay traffic department is expected in court soon after he was arrested on Tuesday afternoon on charges of corruption and bribery following a sting operation by Uitenhage police...
Despite flight delays on Wednesday morning due to a South...
- 20-year-old Port Elizabeth man busted with illegal firearm
- VIDEO: Contracts involving over R40 million now part of forensic investigations at City Hall
- Port Elizabeth man out on bail for business robbery busted for housebreaking
- Three nabbed just 25 minutes after allegedly robbing Port Elizabeth shop
- Panayiotou murder trial – Kanna Swanepoel finally appears on the stand