Christopher Panayiotou turns 30 as murder trial hangs over his head

Christopher Panayiotou during his bail hearing at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court on June 4, 2015 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Christopher Panayiotou's bail hearing in the murder case of his wife continued in court yesterday. Judgement was postponed to June 5, 2015. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Deon Ferreira)

Christopher Panayiotou during his bail hearing at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court on June 4, 2015 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Christopher Panayiotou's bail hearing in the murder case of his wife continued in court yesterday. Judgement was postponed to June 5, 2015. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Deon Ferreira)

His murder trial is set to continue for the 16th day at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.

Christopher Panayiotou, the businessman alleged to have orchestrated his wife’s death, turns 30 years old with his murder trial set to continue for the 16th day at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.

Panayiotou and his two co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are facing charges that include murder following the discovery of 29-year old Jayde Panayiotou’s body in a bushy area on the outskirts of Kwanobuhle on April 22 last year.

Panayiotou has been languishing at St Albans prison since April last year after a failed bail application at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court, a failed appeal at the Grahamstown High Court and an unsuccessful attempt to bring a bail application on new facts.

Despite seeing several graphic closeup pictures of his wife’s injuries this week, the businessman remained stone-faced, showing no visible signs of emotion. Jayde’s family, her mother Michelle and sister Toni Inggs were heartbroken and wept as they saw visuals of her final moments.

On Tuesday, a crime scene expert, Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker, testified that the schoolteacher was in a vulnerable crouching position when she was shot.

The state alleges she was shot twice through the back and once through the head.

Reconstructed pictures of her body movements were shown in court, along with Bekker’s opinion that Jayde was at first in a crouching position. He then recorded a backward movement, a spine and head movement, and the pictures show her final position, lying with her back flat to the ground.

“Blood stains on the deceased’s shirt, the flow of blood towards the neck area indicates that her torso was definitely not upright,” said Bekker.

Bekker said that blood on Jayde’s right shoulder was also a factor that supported a crouching position at the time the shots were fired.

For the first time, pictures showing the inside of Jayde and Christopher’s home at the Stellen Glen Complex were displayed in court. The lounge area, kitchen and a room showing Jayde’s dressing table as well as personal items, such as a hairbrush and makeup, were displayed.

Her murder-accused husband, who she had known since high school, showed no visible signs of emotion.

It is alleged Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire hitman Sizwe Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde. Vumazonke has since died.

Bekker will continue with his testimony on Wednesday.

 

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