Premium Journalist
1 minute read
12 Aug 2015
4:28 pm

Charges withdrawn against Panayiotou murder accused


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Wednesday confirmed that all charges have been withdrawn against the alleged middleman in the murder case of Jayde Panayiotou.

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)

Luthando Siyoli, 31, is one of three men — including her husband Christopher Panayiotou — who were charged with orchestrating the murder of Jayde in April. The third suspect is Sizwe Prince Vumazonke whom Siyoli allegedly recruited as the triggerman.

Tsepo Ndwalaza, Eastern Cape NPA spokesperson, confirmed that the charges were formally withdrawn against Siyoli who has turned State witness and will be key to proving the State’s case against Panayiotou and Vumazonke.

“We can confirm that the charges were withdrawn,” Ndwalaza said. “He is now a 204 state witness.”

Siyoli appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when the charges were formally withdrawn. The matter had not been placed on the court roll.

Panayiotou and Vumazonke will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

Panayiotou was dealt a major blow recently when his appeal against an earlier decision to deny him bail was dismissed in the Grahamstown High Court.

Jayde was assaulted, thrown in the boot of a car and shot twice in the back and once in the head. Her body was found on the outskirts of KwaNobuhle township in Uitenhage a day after she disappeared.