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Panayiotou trial finally kicks off today: Read everything about case up to now

OCTOBER 11, 2016
Panayiotou trial finally kicks off today: Read everything about case up to now

12:00 Update

Panayiotou stands and confirms plea explanation read out by Price. Peter Daubermann says that his clients; Nemembe and Sibeko, will give no plea explanations and submissions at this time. Court has adjourned.

11:40 Update

Ndedwa was a former employee who was fired for theft. He alleged that Panayiotou used his phone to contact Siyoni; which he claims is untrue. He then threatened Panayiotou's mother at Ok Grocer and demanded R150 000 in order to not give the phone to the Police. Price reads that Vumazonke had also been assualted by Police during his arrest.

11:32 Update

Panayiotou says he was only made aware of his rights when they got to the Police station. Sauid defense would have led the witnesses but the state had put them on their witness list. Siyoni gave two different statements to the Police. State had allegedly threatened Donovan Vosloo; the man who had allegedly wiped Panayiotou's phone, and his father with arrest.

11:28 Update

Price tells that Panayiotou had then met with Siyoni and gave the police a part vehicle registration an contact information Siyoni was using. After which Panayiotou was then arrested in his parents home and was not read his rights and told that no attorney would come at that time of night. Police had approached Panayiotou's friends and employees and threatened and insulted them.

11:20 Update

Price reads on behalf of Panayiotou - Siyoni was unlawfully forced to implicate him in this case. Siyoni made 13 attempts to contact him. For two days Siyoni was taken to the Organised Crime Office where police used deceitful tactics to implicate him. Siyoni was given a burner phone in order to contact him. Police had threatened Siyoni that if he dd not cooperate he would go to jail for 25 years.

11:10 Update

Price says that when Siyoni left Infinity Bar he had no injuries, but when he got to Kabega Park Police station he had a black eye. He was taken all the way to Fort Beauford to get a confession because there he had no support system. There was more than one confirmation that Siyoni was assualted by police. Six days after his arrest his swollen eye was still visible.

10:55 Update

Price says Siyoni was taken unlawfully and not informed of his rights. Panayiotou claims that there is CCTV footage at the Infinity Bar where Siyoni was approached by police that can prove this.

10:40 Update

Panayiotou denies paying R80 000 to hire hitman and that the state is struggling in vain to find a motive for killing his wife. Panayiotou denies approaching Luthando Siyoni, believes that the state is trashing his legal right to a fair trail and says that as far as he was concerned he and Jayde were happily married.

10:35 Update

Minimum charges for numerous Counts read. Nenembe and Sibeko plead not guilty on all counts. Panayiotou pleads not guilty on all charges, Adv Terry Price; representing accused, says client had never known any of the co-accused prior to the court proceedings. Pice says evidence after Siyoni's arrest was tainted because he was beaten and it was unlawfully obtained.

10:10 Update

Co-accused, Sinethembe Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are currently in the dock. Judge Dalayin Chetty has entered the courtroom. Christopher Panayiotou has entered the courtroom.

09:45 Update

Members of the Panayiotou family have just arrived in the court room. Detective Koen of Kabega Park Police is expected to be called as the first witness, as well as teacher Cherise Swanepoel.

All eyes will be on the Port Elizabeth High Court's Courtroom A on Tuesday where disgraced local businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, will finally stand trial for allegedly masterminding the faked abduction and subsequent murder of his teacher wife, Jayde, in April 2015.

Panayitou will be in the dock with two alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. This is after alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died at the beginning of September after slipping into a coma at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, where he had been admitted after falling ill at St Albans Correctional Facility.

Still, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that Vumazonke's death will not affect the state's case against Panayiotou and his co-accused

The courtroom has reportedly been fitted with several computer monitors owing to a vast number of documents that will need to be displayed electronically throughout the trial. The State is also understood to be lining up around 50 witnesses for the case.

Calculated brutal murder

It is alleged that Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer at his nightclub in Algoa Park, R75 000 to hire a hitman Vumazonke, 30, for the murder of his wife, Jayde. She was kidnapped outside the couple's home at the Stellen Glen Complex‚ in Deacon Road, Kabega Park, PE, on 21 April 2015 while waiting for her friend to give her a lift to Riebeek College Girls’ High School, in Uitenhage, where she taught.

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.

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.

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 have since been using it call for justice.

From around that time, Panayiotou tried to get bail.

Late in October last year, Nenembe, 28, who is related to Vumazonke, was also linked to the case, after police arrested him for the murder of 72 year old Denise Webber on 20 August 2015 in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth.

The 25th of August was the first time that Sibeko, who previously claimed that his surname was Roxo, appeared with the other accused.

He was arrested in July in Greenbushes connection with Jayde's murder and has previously appeared in the Port Elizabeth’s Magistrate’s Court where he was denied bail.

According to the 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.

In June, Panayiotou was denied bail by the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court for the second time after his legal team failed to convince the court of new facts that would warrant bail.

Siyoni has since turned State witness and it has been the defence's case that he was assaulted by the police to get a confession out of him - the same confession that implicated Panayiotou.

Attorney Alwyn Griebenow and Advocate Terry Price will be representing Panayiotou while attorney Peter Daubermann representing both Nenembe and Sibeko.

The trial judge is Judge Dayalin Chetty.