Panayiotou case: Reeva’s mom sits out

FILE PICTURE: June Steenkamp. Picture: Kim Ludbrook/EPA/Pool

June Steenkamp is not expected to attend the bail application of Christopher Panayiotou, charged with orchestrating the murder of his schoolteacher-wife Jayde, in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court today.

“If the family need emotional support then yes, she will be there. But she does not want to go to court because she does not want to distract from this case,” said Steenkamp’s lawyer Tania Koen.

Steenkamp recently announced the launch of the Reeva Foundation for Abused Women that would assist those in volatile relationships.

Her daughter, Reeva, was shot dead on Valentine’s Day 2013, by jailed Paralympian Oscar Pistorius whom she was dating at the time.

Pistorius, who was convicted for culpable homicide, has maintained he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home.

Jayde Panayiotou was last seen outside her home in Kabega Park where she had been waiting for a lift to Riebeeck Park High School in Port Elizabeth on April 21.

Her body was found near the Kwanobuhle township in Uitenhage a day later. The 28-year-old had been shot dead.

Thando Siyoli, 31, and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, were arrested days before Panayiotou, 28, gave an emotional eulogy at his wife’s funeral.

In a statement within an affidavit submitted by Panayiotou, he stated bail had been given to Pistorius and UK businessman Shrien Dewani, who was acquitted of orchestrating his wife, Anni’s, murder in Cape Town in 2010.

Panayiotou’s alleged mistress, Chanelle Coutts, has meanwhile turned state witness, according to her lawyer. “She gave a statement to the police and therefore I was appointed to act in her best interests. The state is saying she is a state witness,” Danie Gouws said.

On Friday, the state told the court Panayiotou allegedly unlawfully encouraged Siyoli to flee Port Elizabeth to avoid being caught and arrested by the police.

It further alleged he paid Siyoli R5 000 and asked him to destroy cellphone SIM cards used when the men allegedly conspired to murder Jayde.

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