Port Elizabeth – Christopher Panayiotou was eager to kill his teacher wife and her hitmen had several dry runs before the actual murder, the court heard on Thursday.
The Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court was given chilling details about a plan to kill Jayde Panayiotou, allegedly master-minded by her husband Christopher.
State prosecutor Marius Stander started reading investigating officer Rhynhardt (Kanna) Swanepoel’s affidavit into the record during Panayiotou’s bail application, exactly one month after the murder on April 21, the week before a long weekend.
According to Swanepoel’s affidavit, Panayiotou was apparently eager to have his wife killed before the holidays.
His father was said to have known about his extra-marital affair, which had been going on for three years, and threatened to disinherit Panayioutou if he did not break it off because he loved Jayde as his own daughter.
Shooter would get R40 000
Panayioutou agreed to pay R70 000 to have Jayde killed, Swanepoel said in his affidavit.
The intermediary would keep R30 000 and the shooter would get R40 000.
According to the investigating officer, accused three, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, hired a car on April 9 to use in the murder.
The hired vehicle was equipped with a tracking device.
It was arranged that accused one, Thando Siyoli, and Vumazonke would wait for Jayde at her husband’s Infinity Bar in Algoa Park on that Sunday, the 12th of April, according to the affidavit.
Panayiotou would then bring Jayde to the bar so that they could identify her.
The plan was for them to follow her and kill her when she was on her way home, Swanepoel said in his affidavit.
However, this did not happen because Jayde did not want to go out for lunch on that day.
The State went on to describe other dry run attempts that followed. Swanepoel, in his affidavit, said vehicle tracking data and cell mapping showed that Vumazonke followed Jayde on numerous occasions.
After yet another attempt failed, due to heavy rain, Vumazonke was then shown where she would be waiting for her lift in the morning.
According to the affidavit, Vumazonke bludgeoned Jayde over the head and forced her into the vehicle.
She was then driven to a deserted area near Rocklands.
Jayde was then shot three times – twice in the back and once in the head – at close range, Swanepoel said in his affidavit.
Vumazonke then called Siyoli to demand payment.
He went to an ATM and withdrew R1 500. He tried to withdraw more money at a second ATM, but the card was swallowed because the pin was incorrect.
Siyoli and Vumazonkee then met. The meeting was captured on video footage from a nearby KFC.
Siyoli was arrested and immediately identified Panayiotou as the mastermind and Vumazonke as the shooter, according to Swanepoel.
Siyoli also handed over the money he had received to police and indicated he would co-operate with them.
An operation was then set up to trap Panayiotou.
‘It’s a murder thing now, not just a robbery’
Siyoli called Panayiotou to set up a meeting. The vehicle he was in was bugged with audio and video devices, according to the affidavit.
Panayiotou met Siyoli and when he got into the car he took out the battery of his phone and told Siyoli to do the same.
Stander on Wednesday read out a transcript of the conversation between Siyoli and Panayiotou.
Panayiotou gave Siyoli R5 000 to disappear, Swanepoel said in his affidavit. He also searched Siyoli for a wire.
Quoting Panayiotou, Stander reads: “Someone said something. It’s a murder thing now, not just a robbery.”
The men had not taken Jayde’s bag or watch and it looked like a hit.
According to Swanepoel, an hour after his meeting with Siyoli, Panayiotou contacted a police officer and told him Siyoli had contacted him and he was on his way to East London. He did not tell police he had met with Siyoli.
Panayiotou was then arrested later that evening at his parents house.
He was found in possession of a new cellphone and SIM card.
The State is opposing Panayiotou’s bail application, saying it believes he is a flight risk as his family own property in Cyprus.
The hearing continues.