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Panayiotou murder case middleman, Luthando Siyoni, expected in court for bail

Jun 4, 2018
Panayiotou murder case middleman, Luthando Siyoni, expected in court for bail

The bail hearing of self-confessed middleman in the Jayde Panayiotou murder case, Luthando Siyoni, is expected to resume in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Siyoni admitted to having helped Christopher Panayiotou plan the faked abduction and subsequent murder of his wife, Jayde, while also acting as a middleman between Panayiotou and the alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke.

On the 21st April 2015, Jayde, who was 28 years old and worked as a school teacher, disappeared. She had last been seen outside her residence in Deacon Road Kabega Park waiting for her lift to her school in Uitenhage.

Police were alerted of her disappearance and an immediate manhunt was conducted by various police units assisted by members of the community in search of Jade Panayiotou.

On 22nd April 2015, her body was found in bushes in Kwanobuhle, outside Uitenhage. She had been shot three times in her chest, arm and head.

Between 27th April and 1st May 2015, three suspects including her husband, Christopher, were taken into police custody. 

Two suspects were later arrested.

In September 2016, the alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke (30) passed away at Livingstone Hospital while awaiting trial.

Alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, was released in September 2016 after been held in custody in terms of Section 185 of the Criminal Procedure Act. He believed that his life was in danger, but did not want to enter into the Witness Protection programme.

On 2nd November 2017, after a lengthy trial the three remaining accused were found guilty in the Port Elizabeth High Court. Christopher Panayiotou (31) was convicted for murder, Sinethemba Nemembe (28) was convicted for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances and Zolani Sibeko (35) was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. 

Arrested

Siyoni was arrested in KwaZakhele at the beginning of May.

He had apparently evaded police for several months after Judge Dayalin Chetty had revoked his immunity as a Section 204 witness in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth in November.

During the trial, Judge Chetty had criticised Siyoni's conduct. He also accused him of making up his testimonyin order to help Christopher Panayiotou's defence team.

He now faces a charge of murder for his role in the abduction and murder of Jayde.