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2 minute read
19 Oct 2016
9:04 am

Panayiotou back in court for orchestrating wife’s murder


Panayiotou has previously admitted to having an extramarital affair with Chanelle Coutts, a manager at his OK Grocer store.

Defence lawyers consult with murder accused Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused. Photo: Raahil Sain / ANA

Businessman Christopher Panayiotou and co-accused Sinethembe Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko will again appear in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday for murder.

The night club and grocer store owner is on trial for allegedly orchestrating the April 2015 murder of his schoolteacher wife, Jayde Panayiotou.

On Tuesday, a ballistic expert told the court that the Riebeek College Girls’ High School Grade 7 teacher was shot three times – twice in her back and once in the head resulting in her death.

Captain Gideon Olivier said that it was his opinion that the first shot went in from her back and out of the chest, while the second shot went through her spine.

Doctor Kevin Fourie previously testified that the wound to Jayde’s spine would have paralysed her and she would have fallen to the ground.

Olivier said that he had observed an entrance wound to the left hand side of Jayde’s head and an exit wound to the right of her head. He said that this was “definitely” the final shot.

Olivier said the shooter had to be standing when the final shot went off and that he was “positive” that all the bullets came from a semi-automatic firearm.

The state alleges Panayiotou, who was involved in an extramarital affair, paid Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.

Panayiotou has previously admitted to having an extramarital affair with Chanelle Coutts, a manager at his OK Grocer store.

The State alleges that Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and murder Jayde at the behest of her husband.

However, alleged triggerman Vumazonke died in custody and Siyoni has turned States witness.

The accused face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition. The men have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

Panayiotou, who was arrested shortly after his wife’s murder more than a year ago, faces an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice.

Sibeko was the last suspect to be arrested, 15 months after the murder. He was apparently been linked to the crime through cellphone mapping. However, his role in the murder is still unclear.