Jayde case: R70K and other failed hits
Port Elizabeth – Allegations of extramarital affairs, previous attempts on his wife’s life and Christopher Panayioutou allegedly paying R70 000 to have her killed, were levelled against him in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The allegations came to light as State advocate Marius Stander read out the first affidavit of Kanna Swanepoel, the investigating officer in the Jayde Panayiotou kidnapping and murder case which has gripped the attention of South Africa.
The State alleged that the price that was to be paid for the hit on Jayde was R70 000, with R40 000 to be paid to the shooter and R30 000 to the person who was the middleman. It is the State’s case that Panayiotou was the mastermind behind the plan.
In Swanepoel’s affidavit, he stated that Panayiotou’s father, Costa, had considered Jayde, 29, to be like his own daughter and that he loved her very much. The State alleged that Costa was aware of an extramarital affair that Christopher had been having with one of his employees for three years.
According to the affidavit, Costa told his 28-year-old son to end the affair and warned him that he would not inherit anything if it were to continue.
The abduction and murder of Jayde was meant to look like a robbery and according to the State’s case, followed several earlier failed attempts.
When Jayde was murdered she was shot twice in the back and once in the head. She had also been assaulted and thrown into the boot of a rental car.
Stander also read out recordings that had taken place between Christopher and fellow murder accused Luthando Siyoli, 31. In one recording, Panayiotou wanted to know from Siyoli whether the police had enquired about him.
Stander said Panayiotou was considered a flight risk if one looked at the seriousness of the case. If found guilty, he faced a sentence of life imprisonment, which contributed to him being a flight risk, said Stander.
According to Stander, Panayiotou’s family owned a property in Cyprus and Panayiotou owned a Cyprian passport. According to the State’s case, Panayiotou was drowning in debt, which included outstanding payments on his vehicle, R2.2 million for a Lovemore Heights property and more than R500 000 on his Stellen Glen Home.
The State believed Panayiotou was forced into further debt to keep Jayde and his alleged mistress happy and that is why he allegedly decided to have his wife killed.
Stander said the State had a very strong case and said the incident had left the public outraged.
Panayiotou was arrested days after Siyoli, a bouncer at a nightclub owned by Panayiotou, had been arrested. A third suspect, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, was arrested later. All three men have been charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to commit murder.