One month since Jayde Panayiotou was first reported missing - follow the developments

MAY 21, 2015

Thursday, 21 May, marks one month after Port Elizabeth teacher, Jayde Panayiotou, was reported missing from outside her house in Kabega Park and was found murdered the following day outside Uitenhage. Ironically, her husband, Christopher, is expected to know if he will remain behind bars or get bail today.

This morning, it was revealed that Jayde was shot three times.

Jayde Panayiotou's mother has reportedly also given the State an affidavit about Christopher’s alleged family and friend connections, popularity in Cyprus – possibly making him a flight risk.

Advocate Terry Price, who is representing Christopher, has reportedly told his parents that the prosecution is desperate.

"What happened here yesterday was a travesty of justice," he also told them.

On Wednesday, Panayiotou's bail hearing was postponed after Magistrate Abigail Beaton agreed that the PE businessmen be represented by his lawyer, Advocate Price‚ who did not pitch up in court.

The State also revealed that the man who allegedly offered Panayiotou a deal that would the evidence against him disappear an assassinating a State witness at a cost of R40 000 had been tracked down.

Apparently, Advocte Price has also revealed that he is being abused on social media.

The case so far

Jade Panayiotou was first reported missing on 21 April 2015 – she had apparently disappeared from outside her complex, Stellen Glen‚ in Deacon Road, Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, at around 6:30am, shortly before a colleague and close friend was due to pick her up for work.

The 28-year-old was a teacher at Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, just outside Port Elizabeth.

Initially, the case did not receive much media attention until later in the day.

Port Elizabeth police launched a massive search which included the flying squad and K9 unit.

Her family also offered a R50 000 reward for any information that would lead to her safe return, which they later increased to R150 000.

A massive social media campaign followed as many people took to mainly Twitter and Facebook to help find her. The Twitter hashtag #FindJayde trended all night.

On 22 April, police announced that they had found Jayde’s body in an isolated area near KwaNobuhle Township in Uitenhage – prompting the hashtag #RIPJayde to trend on Twitter.

It also emerged that she had actually been abducted by two men.

A reported 4 000 people marched towards the Kabega Park police station that evening in an impromptu protest gathering, with many calling for the death penalty to be reinstated.

On 23 April, police confirmed that she had been shot but they were awaiting the results of a full post mortem.

On 27 April, police released an identikit of a man believed to be involved in the crime. It was based on images that had been taken from an ATM in KwaNobuhle where money had been withdrawn from her account not long after she disappeared.

Both the identikit and ATM images went viral on social media.

On 28 April, Panayiotou was laid to rest after a funeral service at the Mater Dei Catholic Church in Port Elizabeth.

Her husband, Christopher, who led the pallbearers, gave a moving tribute. They had been together for 11 years.

On 29 April, the police announced that they had made a breakthrough by arresting two suspects in the murder case.

One suspect, Thando Siyoli, appeared in a Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court for alleged involvement in the abduction and murder on 30 April. Siyoli is now believed to have played the role of middleman in the murder.

He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 7 May.

Rumours also emerged that Jayde’s husband, Christopher had been arrested at the same time with Siyoli. The news went viral on social media with the hashtag #JadePanayiotou trending on Twitter that afternoon until the morning of 1 May. 

Some people drew parallels to the case with the cases of Shrien Dewani and Oscar Pistorius and called for harsher sentences against those convicted.

That weekend, it also emerged that Christopher may have copied a eulogy from the internet, which he read at Jayde’s funeral service – which raised eyebrows.

It was also alleged that Panayioutou's husband had paid Siyoli R80 000 to arrange the abduction and murder. It was also alleged that Siyoli later helped undercover police officers lure Christopher by demanding an additional R5 000.

Police reportedly pounced on Panayiotou in Uitenhage after he allegedly paid Siyoli the money.

On 3 May, a newspaper claimed that he was having an affair with a 26-year-old woman who apparently managed his supermarket.

Christopher appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on 4 May amid a media frenzy. The case has been remanded to 19 June and he will remain in custody.

Christopher Panayiotou in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

Police also announced that a third suspect had been arrested on Sunday in New Brighton and he would appear in court on Tuesday.

On 5 May, the suspect, believed to be the actual hitman, now identified as Sizwesakhe Vumazonke, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court – with visible bruises on his face. He told the judge that he had been beaten by the police.

**A Facebook page - Prayers For Jayde Panayiotou, was launched when she went missing and has since garnered around 5,000 likes. People are using it to send their condolences and call for justice.

 

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