Panayiotou trial focuses on ATM transactions

Port Elizabeth – A former police officer on Wednesday, described to the Port Elizabeth High Court the fears of a father on the day Jayde Panayiotou disappeared during April 2015.

Streicher Botha who is an investigating officer at Protea Coin testified on the sixth day of the trial against Jayde’s husband Christopher Panayiotou and his two co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko.

Streicher explained to the court how he was involved in the initial investigation upon receiving information that Jayde’s bank card had been used in Kwanobuhle after she had gone missing.

Streicher was responsible for viewing video footage at ATM’s, and he often hands over footage to police to assist them in their investigations.

He told the court how he arrived at an ATM in Kwanobuhle on April 21, 2015 and saw Jayde’s father Derrick Inggs who was very “anxious” and wanted to view the video footage himself.

“Myself and the custodians of the ATM met up, the deceased’s [Jayde’s] father was very anxious, he also wanted to get into the ATM cubicle. We told him that he was not allowed and [then] myself and the custodians went to view the footage,” said Botha.

Botha told the court that at the first ATM he did not observe any movement but at the second ATM he noticed movement at 07.25am and distributed a photo to at least 10 police officers.

It later emerged that particular photo was not of the suspect and was incorrectly distributed to the media.

Botha said they also visited a third ATM but he had observed no movement.

“After he withdrew [the] money we checked his slip and saw there was a 20 minute difference between the receipt and the recording machine,” he said.

Botha said upon seeing a 20 minute time difference he decided to go back to the first ATM in Kwanobuhle the next day on April 22, 2015. Upon looking at the footage taken at 07.05am Botha said he noticed movement, however the photo off this footage was “unclear”.

He said he decided that this particular photo would be inadmissible at court and chose not to “preserve” it.

Botha conceded that the “unclear” photo was the image that supported the withdrawal on Jayde’s account.

The State alleges Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire hitman Vumazonke to kidnap and kill his schoolteacher wife, Jayde.

The State also alleges that Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and murder Jayde at the behest of her husband. Siyoni has since turned States witness and Vumazonke passed away while in custody at St Albans Prison.

After being driven to a remote area on the outskirts of Kwanobuhle, where the alleged murder was committed, the State alleges that Vumazonke fired two shots through Jayde’s back and a final shot through her head.

Sibeko was the last person to be arrested, 15 months after the murder. He has apparently been linked to the crime through cellphone mapping to being present outside Jayde’s Stellen Glen complex in the days before her murder. However, his alleged role in the events leading up to the murder are still unclear.