Christopher Panayiotou’s father “wanted nothing to with him” after learning of his son’s extramarital affair with Chanelle Coutts, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Tuesday.
Detective Warrant Officer Leon Eksteen testified for the second day in the eighth week of the ongoing murder trial involving Panayiotou and his two co-accused.
Panayiotou, Sinethembe Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are charged with the murder of Panayiotou’s schoolteacher wife Jayde Panayiotou during April last year.
A trial-within-a-trial is currently under way to deal with the admissibility of a video recording between alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni and Panayiotou during an undercover police sting operation on April 29 last year.
Eksteen was responsible for facilitating calls Siyoni made to Panayiotou in the run-up to the police sting operation.
During cross-examination on Tuesday, defence advocate Terry Price asked Eksteen if he had ever mentioned to a police officer that Costa Panayiotou had threatened to “disinherit” his son Christopher.
Eksteen and the Panayiotous were family friends for a period of 16 years, prior to Jayde’s killing.
Eksteen and the Panayiotous have become estranged since Christopher’s arrest in connection with Jayde’s murder.
“We were friends, and there was a time Costa suspected Christopher had another relationship,” said Eksteen.
Eksteen said when Christopher and Chanelle’s relationship was confirmed, Costa was furious.
Eksteen told the court that he had heard Costa saying: “I don’t want anything to do with him [Christopher].”
Price put it to the detective that Costa had made two statements denying ever saying that.
“Costa never used the word disinherit, he denies those conversations ever took place,” said Price.
Eksteen insisted the conversations did in fact take place, and he interpreted Costa’s words as meaning disinheritance.
Eksteen added: “Costa said he was avoiding Christopher because of the Chanelle issue, and that he would write them off.”
The state alleges that Panayiotou orchestrated his wife’s murder because she was a “financial burden”.
Cop labelled ‘malicious’ for talks on Jayde life policy
Meanwhile, secret recorded conversations between a cop and Eksteen talking about a life policy worth millions of rands Panayiotou had apparently taken out in his wife’s name were aired.
Price accused Eksteen of being “malicious” for speculating about a life policy in Jayde’s name.
“I want to refer you to another transcript. Here [where] you talk to Phillip Vosloo, you talk of a policy. The policy is apparently from R3.5 million to R6 million? Where does this information come from?” asked Price.
Eksteen could not clearly recall the conversation and dismissed it as a minor conversation relating only to speculation.
“Maybe there was information I received, that’s why I mentioned it,” said Eksteen.
Price responded, saying: “The reason I am asking is that this was in the newspapers that Chris would benefit from a life insurance policy of R6 million.”
Price was adamant that the recorded conversations showed that Eksteen was “malicious” and went on to refer to another recorded conversation where Eksteen promised the Panayiotous that their son had not been set up.
While Eksteen was not initially involved in the investigation, he later became part of the team and was responsible for facilitating calls Siyoni made to Panayiotou in the run up to the police sting operation.
It would appear that the secret recorded conversation took place after the businessman was arrested for his wife’s murder.
– African News Agency