Panayiotou Trial Day 4 – Defence cross-examines friend of Panayiotou's mistress
Day four of the murder trial against Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, who are accused of the kidnapping and murder of the Panayiotou’s wife, Jayde, resumed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.
Proceedings continued on from last week where the defence; Advocate Terry Price, from the Defence, began with a cross-examination of State witness, Clarishka Kapp, a friend of Panayiotou’s alleged mistress Chantelle Coutts.
Kapp told the court that she had been friends with Coutts for 18 years, but has not spoken or communicated with her since Jayde’s murder in April 2015.
Price asked why this was so and Kapp stated that investigating officer, Kanna Swanepoel, had advised her against speaking to Coutts while her mother also forbade her. She said Coutts also suggested that they stop talking.
When Price asked if Kapp questioned why her friend would suddenly want to stop communicating Kapp said that she did not question it - and that Coutts was afraid her phone had been tapped and did not want to involve Kapp in the media.
Price then said that he had evidence that the police had threatened Kapp with arrest if she had attempted to contact Coutts but Kapp denied this.
Kapp told the court that she had been questioned a few days after Coutts and she was asked about the affair and gift exchanges between Panayiotou and Coutts.
"I was questioned about Chanelle and Chris's love relationship," said Kapp.
Price then questioned Kapp if she had informed the police that Panayiotou wanted to ‘get rid’ of Jayde because she was costing him too much money or that Jayde was forcing him into debt because of the new house he was buying. She said no.
The defence claimed that Kapp had left something very important out of her statement - that Panayiotou had also bought expensive gifts for Jayde and Kapp as well.
Price accused Kapp of having selective memory as she was leaving out important information. Kapp then broke down into tears and was led out of the court room by her translator for a short adjournment.
When the court resumed, Price then asked her what kind of gifts Panayiotou had bought her and if he had purchased an iPhone for her to the value of R7 000.
Under examination, Kapp stated that even Coutts had not received a gift like that. She was asked if she would describe Panayiotou as generous to which she agreed.
Price then referred to Coutts’ sister, Cindy Coutts’ wedding, and said that although Kapp stated that Panayiotou and Coutts had gone together they did not.
Price said that Panayiotou was only driving Cindy to her wedding. But, Kapp insisted that Coutts had informed her that she was going to the wedding with Panayiotou.
The Defence then presented a photo as proof that Panayiotou was only driving Cindy and not attending the wedding with Coutts.
Price then referred to the trip Kapp, Coutts and Panayiotou had taken to George and asked if she was sure about the date she had given, because Price notes that she may have been confusing the year as her phone records show that she was at the Infinity Bar in Port Elizabeth during the time that she was supposed to be in George.
Kapp insisted that she is not confusing the dates.
Price then referred to the alleged phone call Panayiotou had made on the day of his wedding to Kapp.
He said that when Kapp said that Panayiotou was afraid of losing Coutts, she was misleading the court as he only called to ask if he was making a mistake.
Price then mentioned the times that Coutts had slept over at Panayiotou’s place, and asked if she was there and saw that Coutts was sleeping over with her own eyes.
Kapp said that she had never seen them with her own eyes, but she was always asked to cover for Coutts whenever she did. She also said that Coutts had sent her a photo of the two in bed together.
“I was also at her house while she was packing to go to Chris' house,” she said.
Price then asked why she thought that Coutts was upset on the day that Panayiotou was marrying Jayde.
Kapp stated that Coutts sent her a crying face emoji’s and that she was emotional the whole day.
Price said that Chris never mentioned receiving negative comments from Coutts about his marriage to Jayde.
He inquired if Coutts thought that she and Panayiotou would get married to which Kapp said "Perhaps one day".
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