PORT ELIZABETH – Christopher Panayiotou, the man charged with orchestrating the murder of his school teacher wife Jayde, will appear in court on Friday for the first time alongside the two men he allegedly recruited to carry out the hit.

Panayiotou, 28, was denied bail by the Port Elizabeth magistrate’s court last week and will appear on Friday alongside co-accused Luthando Siyoli, 31, and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30.

The three men have been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

Jayde, 29, was assaulted, thrown in the boot of a car and shot twice in the back and once in the head before her body dumped on the outskirts of KwaNobuhle township in Uitenhage in late April.

Panayiotou was arrested shortly after Siyoli, an employee of his had been arrested. It is the State’s case that Panayiotou masterminded the murder of his wife, that he recruited Siyoli as the middle man who in turn found Vumazonke to carry out the murder. An amount of R70, 000 has been put forward as the price of the hit.

The trio have not appeared in the same court since the arrests and it is widely thought that Siyoli – who has been kept apart from his co-accused – has turned State witness and is indeed the man who gave up Panayiotou as the architect behind the killing.

During the bail application it came to light that Panayiotou’s lover, Chanelle Coutts, her friend and Siyoli’s girlfriend will all testify for the State when the trial starts.

Panayiotou’s bid for bail spanned over two weeks before Magistrate Abigail Beaton two weeks ago eventually denied his application, amidst loud cheers by members in the public gallery who supported her decision.

Panayiotou’s legal representative, Advocate Terry Price has since confirmed that he would appeal Beaton’s decision, which he believed to be factually inaccurate, but it is unclear when this will take place.

During the proceedings it came to light that, considering the court rolls, Panayiotou – unless he can succeed with his appeal against the refusal of bail – will in all probability have been in custody for a year when his trial starts.

Panayiotou’s lack of disclosure about his Cypriot passport was one of the key reasons Beaton cited for refusing bail. She said he had not honest with the court by not disclosing his dual citizenship.

According to Beaton no bail conditions could be put in place that would ensure that Panayiotou did not flee the country. She said he had the financial means to abscond.

Beaton also listed the fact that he could destroy evidence and her concern that he would interfere with State witnesses and his financial situation as reasons for her refusal.

– Africa News Agency