Port Elizabeth – The trial of Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused who are facing charges of, among others, conspiracy to commit murder, is expected to continue in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.
Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are facing charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbery and murder after Panayiotou’s wife Jayde was killed on April 21 last year. They have pleaded not guilty.
During their last appearance on Friday, the alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni denied having anything to do with her murder.
Siyoni told the court that he worked at Christopher Panayiotou’s Infinity Nightclub in Port Elizabeth and earned money from his own gym and as a personal trainer.
Jayde disappeared on April 21 while waiting for a lift to Uitenhage where she was a school teacher. She was found dead the following day.
The State alleges that Panayiotou commissioned Siyoni to arrange Jayde’s death and that Siyoni did so by organising triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke to carry out the hit. Vumazonke died in hospital in September while awaiting trial.
On the morning of Jayde’s disappearance, Siyoni told the court that he had been at the nightclub to get some of his saved money from Panayiotou.
Bundles of cash
He told the court he owed Vumazonke R10 000 towards gym weights that Vumazonke had sourced for him at a good price.
He expected to find the money in a storeroom at Panayiotou’s business, but it was not there. Siyoni said Vumazonke was harassing him on the phone for the money, so he sat and waited at Infinity.
While there he heard Panayiotou’s wife Jayde had gone missing.
He said that Panayiotou had called him and asked him to help him with the search for Jayde because he knew the area better. He took Panayiotou to some ATMs and later Panayiotou dropped him off at his girlfriend’s home.
He said before he left with Panayiotou, he had stopped at Breakfast’s house and asked her brothers to fetch her as she could not stay at his house alone. He said he asked Breakfast’s brother to tell her to bring the gym bag.
The gym bag has featured prominently in evidence led by the State. The bag contained three socks, each of which had a bundle of R10 000 inside.
Breakfast has already testified and has been charged with perjury after changing her testimony.
Siyoni had been classified as a Section 204 witness after the arrest of the four men, and the charges against him were withdrawn in August last year.
Siyoni told the court that he had R8 000 of the R10 000 due to Vumazonke and that night Panayiotou loaned him the remaining R2 000 when Panayiotou had dropped him off at Breakfast’s home around midnight.