Port Elizabeth – Hearing how Jayde Panayiotou was shot at close range last year proved too much for her mother and sister and they rushed out the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.
Forensic pathologist Kevin Fourie, called by the State, detailed the gruesome injuries that were caused as a result of the bullet wounds.
At first her mother Michelle Inggs kept her head bowed.
Tissues were hauled out and emotions ran high after photos of the post-mortem were placed in front of Fourie.
Led by prosecutor Marius Stander, Fourie revealed that Jayde died as a result of bullet wounds to her head and chest.
The State would argue that she was pistol whipped before being shot.
There was no evidence of trauma to her genital organs.
Stander asked if it was possible to tell how far away the firearm was at the time of firing.
Fourie said the shooter would have been more than a metre away when firing at the head.
The bullets perforated the skull and brain, the chest involving the left lung, the chest involving the spinal column, and the chest involving the right lung.
He said there was blood in her lungs.
The bullets went in at her back and came out at the front, one at a slight angle. The third entered the left side of her head.
She also had bruising around the eye, caused by the gunshot wound that fractured the surrounding bone.
Fourie said there unique identifying marks on the body. She had a watch on her left wrist, tattoos on one shoulder and left flank, and piercings in navel, ears, and nose.
Her younger sister Toni Inggs and best friend Cherise Swanepoel, who both testified earlier in the week, smiled at each other when the tattoos and piercings were mentioned.
Fourie said Jayde’s hands were bagged for evidence.
There was a small tear on her right ring finger and wrist but no marks to indicate she was tied up at the wrists or ankles.
Earlier this week, the court heard she was shot twice in the back and fell to the ground.
She then turned, raised her hand to plead with her killers, before being shot in the head.
Stander said at the time that gunshot residue was found on her left hand. Three shots were heard in a veld in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, around 07:00 that day.
Jayde, a teacher at Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, was kidnapped while waiting for her lift outside her Stellen Glen complex, in Deacon Road, in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21 last year. She was holding a bag full of schoolbooks and a laptop.
Her husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko pleaded not guilty to conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing her.
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.
Panayiotou kept his head down.
The testimony eventually became too much for Michelle and she left the courtroom in tears with her daughter Toni.
The Panayiotou family appeared stoic.
Fourie said the effect of the shots to her back would have caused a loss in motor function and sensitivity from that point down.
“The legs would have been paralysed. She would have fallen over,” he said.
Swanepoel burst into tears, as did some supporters in the benches.
Stander asked what the effect of the shot to the head would have been.
The pathologist said it was not really possible to say.
The defence lawyers chose not to cross-exam Fourie and he left the stand.
A short adjournment followed.