Port Elizabeth – The third suspect accused of the murder of Jayde Panayiotou is a parolee who was out on bail at the time of her murder.
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with the murder of the popular Grade 7 teacher.
It has since been confirmed that Vumazonke was released on bail three months ago for his alleged involvement in a robbery at Dales Liquor in the Mount Pleasant suburb of Port Elizabeth on December 23 last year.
It has also come to light that Vumazonke had been convicted in July 2011 of theft and possession of a stolen firearm, for which he had been sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on parole in October 2013 after serving two-and-a-half years of his sentence in St Albans Prison.
Despite still being on parole when he was arrested in connection with the Dales Liquor robbery, he was granted bail.
Eastern Cape provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Marinda Mills confirmed that Vumazonke was out on bail at the time of his arrest.
She confirmed the bail was linked to his alleged involvement in a business robbery case and that he had been charged with armed robbery.
A photograph on Vumazonke’s Facebook profile, dated February 2014, shows him posing in an orange prison jumpsuit, with the phrase “Inenkani mayihlangene”, which loosely translated means “there is defiance when there is support”.
Vumazonke, whose right eye was swollen shut at the time of his appearance on Tuesday, claimed in court that he had been beaten by police.
Mills, however, said that Vumazonke had sustained his injuries during his arrest.
“Investigators had difficulty tracking his exact location, so when he was found they had to rush in to apprehend him.
“He was inside a vehicle among a crowd of people outside of a tavern and they had to extract him from the motor vehicle before he had a chance to escape,” she said.
Mills said it was during that process that Vumazonke had been injured.
“The correct procedures were followed following his injury. His injuries were reported and he was offered medical assistance.
“It was an unfortunate incident that occurred during his extraction from the vehicle,” she said.
Vumazonke, who did not have legal representation at the time of his appearance on Tuesday, had his case postponed to June 19, the same day Panayiotou’s husband Christopher is expected to appear again.
Vumazonke’s attorney, once appointed, may however apply for bail before his next scheduled appearance.
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