Panayiotou, Vumazonke and Nenembe appear in court for pre-trial conference

JULY 26, 2016

Disgraced Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his two alleged accomplices, alleged hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Sinethemba Nenembe, appeared for the first time in the Port Elizabeth High Court for a pre-trial conference on Tuesday.

The matter has been postponed to August 25 for another conference ahead of a trial that is set to begin on the 3rd of October and to alst until the 2nd of December.

Panayiotou, who appeared in court spotting a bald head, stands accused of planning and hiring Vumazonke and Nenembe to abduct and murder his schoolteacher wife‚ Jayde, in April last year, allegedly because she was a "financial burden" to him.

The Panayiotou family also attended the hearing.

In June, Magistrate Abigail Beeton refused him bail after his defence failed to present new facts to warrant a new bail application.

The trio is currently in custody at St Albans Prison, just outside Port Elizabeth.

The State alleges that Panayiotou paid a bouncer at his Infinity nightclub, Luthando Siyoni - who has since turned a State witness, to hire Vumazonke to kidnap and murder his wife.

The State further alleges that Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.

Meanwhile, two Sundays ago, a fifth suspect, Zolani Sibeko - who insists his surname is Roxo, was arrested in Greenbushes connection with the murder and has appeared twice already in the Port Elizabeth’s Magistrate’s Court.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), police used cellphone plotting and placed Sibeko outside the Panayiotou's Stellen Glen complex at the time that Vumazonke and Nenembe allegedly kidnapped Jayde.

He is expected back in the court on Wednesday.