Port Elizabeth – The policeman who arrested the alleged middleman in the Jayde Panayiotou murder is known as “the enforcer”, the High Court in Port Elizabeth heard on Monday.
Terry Price, for murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou, referred to three other cases where Captain Willie Mayi had been accused of assaulting a suspect.
He suggested to Mayi that the reason he was often called to take initial statements was because he was known as “the enforcer”.
He was questioning Mayi about claims that the alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, was assaulted and tortured after his arrest.
Nightclub bouncer Siyoni and his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast were arrested on April 27, after Mayi got a tip-off from an informant during the probe into Jayde’s disappearance and death.
The couple were taken in for questioning. Testifying in court, they both denied what they said in their statements to police. Siyoni claimed he was tortured into making his statement.
Mayi insisted he did everything by the book and denied Siyoni’s claims that he was tortured. He said he could not find the diary he kept his notes in, because somebody else was using his office.
He said the cut on Siyoni’s face happened when Siyoni suddenly realised he was in trouble, and resisted arrest.
“Siyoni was never assaulted. Never did I wipe blood off Siyoni, because there was no blood,” he said.
Price had claimed that an eye test showed that Breakfast was “legally blind”, implying that she would not have been able to read what Mayi wrote for her to sign. He said Mayi did not establish that Breakfast could read the English the statement was written in.
The trial continues.
Panayiotou, 29, was abducted outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School on Tuesday, April 21. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage, the following day.
Her husband Christopher, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing her. They pleaded not guilty. The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in September.
Siyoni was allegedly the go-between between Panayiotou and Vumazonke. He claimed that money police found in his possession was savings meant to pay for gym weights Vumazonke had found for him.