Panayiotou trial day 14: Tears in court as graphic crime scene pictures of Jayde shown

BY JESICA SLABBERT - OCTOBER 31, 2016

The trial against Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, entered its fourth week on Monday in the Port Elizabeth High Court, with criminal expert Phillip Bekker taking the stand.

Panayiotou stands accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of his wife, Jayde, with his alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko.

The court heard that Bekker has 17 years of experience and has investigated around 8 500 crime scenes and 4 000 laboratory cases, but he mainly examines crime scenes.

He attended the crime scene on 22 April 2015, on the outskirts of KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, where Jayde’s body was discovered.

State Prosecutor, Marius Stander, asked Bekker to take court through the observations he made at the time.

That was when the very graphic crime scene pictures were shown to the court, detailing where and in what state her body was found in.

Her family, who were sitting at the back of the court room, could not hold back their tears as photo after photo of the crime scene was shown on digital monitors in the courtroom.

In the photos, Jayde’s body appeared with her left arm curled into her chest. The hood of her jacket had been pulled over her head.

Blood drops could be seen on her face, which indicated the impact splatter caused by a bullet and a close up of Jayde's right ear showed that it was filled with blood.

The images also showed that Jayde still had her bracelet and watch on when her body was found. The remote and keys to her complex could be seen sticking out of her pocket.

Different images of the bullet wounds on Jayde’s body were also shown to the court, blood stains from her head could be seen in the grass where her body was left.

Panayiotou would occasionally look up at the images on display, but did not show any emotion while looking at them.

The bushy area where Jayde's body was found was pointed out on overhead projector. A dirt road leading to crime scene was shown with tyre tracks, which veered to edge of the road.

"The crime scene was very well managed by police," said Bekker.

"Crime scene was undisturbed on my arrival. Only members of K-9 unit were active. The tyre track was lifted before heavy wind set in."

The trial continues.