Christopher Panayiotou denied bail

FILE PICTURE: Christopher Panayiotou stares straight ahead during his bail hearing application, 20 May 2015, at the Magistrates Court, Port Elizabeth. Picture: Judy de Vega

The Port Elizabeth man accused of masterminding the murder of his wife, Christopher Panayiotou’s bail appeal was dismissed by the Grahamstown High Court on Tuesday.

He will remain behind bars with his co-accused until his trial starts next year. Panayiotou, 28, who is accused of being the mastermind behind his school teacher wife, Jayde’s murder, appealed the decision of a Port Elizabeth Magistrate who denied him bail in June this year.

The defence applied for the matter to be heard in Grahamstown in the hopes to get away from the press, but a large media contingent attended the appeal. When the Judge dismissed the appeal on Tuesday, Jayde’s mother Michelle, and her sister, Toni Inggs, burst into tears. Michelle described the moment when the appeal was dismissed as the best two seconds of her life.

Upon lodging his appeal, Panayiotou’s legal team launched a scathing attack on Magistrate Abigail Beaton, saying she had erred on a number of fronts when she made the decision to deny their client bail. Beaton ruled that Panayiotou could be a flight risk and that there was a chance he could interfere with state witnesses. Her decision was upheld by the Grahamstown High Court.

Panayiotou and his two co-accused, Luthando Siyoli, and the alleged hitman Sizwe Prince Vumazonke will all remain in custody until the trial starts. Although there are no set trial dates yet, it is expected to be heard during the latter part of 2016. The three were all arrested shortly after the killing.

It is alleged that Panayiotou hired Siyoli to kill Jayde. According to the State’s case, Siyoli in turn hired Vumazonke to pull the trigger. Jayde’s body was found near Uitenhage a day after she went missing in April. She had been shot several times.

Siyoli has since turned state witness. Panayiotou and Vumazonke are being detained at the St. Albans Prison.

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