Port Elizabeth – While Christopher Panayiotou was still in custody last week Monday, subjected to the “horrific” conditions and “bad food” at the St Albans prison, he became the new owner of a luxury home.
The “dream house” that Christopher, 28, bought for himself and murdered wife Jayde, was transferred to his name last week.
Riaan Meyer, the previous owner of the luxury home – which boasts four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms and lavish entertainment areas – told Rapport he and his wife got the impression that the Panayiotous wanted to buy the house due to safety considerations.
Meyer said Christopher came to view the house on three occasions – the first time with his mom, the second time on his own and the third time with Jayde and her parents, who were “ecstatic” about the new home in the Lovemore Heights estate in Port Elizabeth.
Christopher signed the purchase contract to the value of R2.35m on February 22, and that deal has now been concluded.
He is the sole owner of the house.
“Jayde’s parents were so excited. They still joked around, picking a room where they would stay in,” Meyer said.
According to him, Jayde and Christopher were both very excited.
“She adored the place. She couldn’t wait to move in.”
But this dream was shattered when Jayde was kidnapped from outside the complex where the couple was staying in April, and was later found murdered.
Last week, the Panayiotou family and Jayde’s family did not sit in the same bench in court, where the State accused Christopher’s family of the “highest form of treason”.
All the while Christopher had kept up the front that he and his teacher-wife were a successful young family, he actually had a mistress whom he wanted to replace Jayde with, the State alleged.
The prosecutor also alleged Christopher’s father knew about the affair, but never said a word to Jayde’s family.
Christopher admitted in court papers that he had an affair with Chanelle Coutts, 27, a manager at one of the OK Grocer shops owned by his family.
He is alleged to have paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, believed to be a bouncer at his pub Infinity, R70?000 to arrange hitmen to kill Jayde.
Coutts is still on sick leave after a nervous breakdown.
The State is opposing bail. Magistrate Abigail Beeton will make a ruling on Christopher’s bail application on Thursday.
Meanwhile, there is no indication yet what Christopher plans to do with his new home.
The bank has registered a bond for the full purchase price, and his bond repayment could come to more than R20 000 monthly. The first repayment is due at the end of June.
Meyer said the estate charges a monthly levy of R760, while the monthly property rates come to about R1?100.
Christopher also has a bond on the home in Kabega Park, where he and Jayde lived.
He has said under oath in court he earns a monthly income of only R30?000.