Jayde taught girls to defend themselves
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Port Elizabeth - Just months before Port Elizabeth teacher Jayde Panayiotou was abducted and killed, she gave pupils in her class lessons in self defence.
Panayiotou, a social sciences teacher and hockey coach at Riebeeck College Girls' high school in Uitenhage was abducted from outside her Kabega Park home on Tuesday morning.
Her body was found in KwaNobuhle a day later. She had been shot.
At a memorial at Riebeeck College on Friday, parents and pupils shared their experiences with Panayiotou.
The mood was somber as tributes led by school principal Mrs M Woods were delivered.
Speaker after speaker told the large gathering how special Panayiotou was to them.
Moving renditions of hymns had nearly everybody in the packed school hall in tears.
“Jayde would have been extremely proud of all of you today,” said Woods
Panayiotou's sister in law Khloe, also a teacher at the school, said : “You were a sister and a sister in law to me. You always had advice. My brother loves you dearly and you loved him too,” she said fighting back tears.
In the school foyer, a memorial wall with hundreds of messages was erected. One of the messages on the wall read: “I promise those people will pay” another read “ I love you so much.I hope you are resting in peace. You will be in my heart forever”
Outside the school parents stood in groups reminiscing about their encounters with Panayiotou.
“Just a month ago Jayde was telling the girls what they should do in the event that someone tries to abduct them. She told them to kick and scream and make as much noise as possible. It's just so unbelievable that she would be faced with that situation.There are just so many questions surrounding her disappearance and death,” said Darweesha Rockman, a parent.
Panayiotou, formerly Inggs, married into the Panayiotou family recently. The Panayiotou's have a takeaway and other business interests in Uitenhage. She also hailed from a business family.
Students at the memorial broke down during the service, many of them needing to be consoled by teachers and parents.
Leone Ewertes a former pupil of Panayiotou's said that she was devastated by her death.
“She was someone that you could always talk to. She was always so happy. She was so loving she even couldn't bring herself to shout at us. She would start and then break out into a wide smile,” said Ewertes.
A programme handed out at the memorial service contained some of Panayiotou's messages to her students.
In one message she says “ Life is always about making choices. Always do your best to make the right ones and always do your best to learn from the wrong ones. All my love Mrs Panayiotou “
On Friday evening Police released pictures of Panayiotou's engagement ring and wedding band believed to have been stolen during her murder in the hope of tracking down her killers.
They have appealed to anyone that recognizes the rings to contact the Kabega Park police station.
No arrests have been made as yet. A post mortem was conducted on Panayiotou on Friday although preliminary reports did indicate that she was shot.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.