Port Elizabeth - Christopher Panayiotou's involvement in his wife Jayde's killing is proved by the police undercover video recording, this according to State Advocate Marius Stander who delivered his closing arguments in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.
More than a year has gone by and the murder trial involving Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko is drawing to a close with 58 witnesses having being called and evidence led over a 62-day period.
In the undercover sting operation Panayiotou allegedly paid Luthando Siyoni R4,550 and seemingly implicates himself in his wife's murder.
Panayiotou is accused of paying Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire Sizwe Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.
Panayiotou, Nenembe and Sibeko are charged with conspiring to kidnap and murder schoolteacher Jayde Panayiotou on April 21, 2015. In his closing arguments Stander said that once the court found Vumazonke was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Jayde and that Siyoni recruited the hitman, the remainder of the State's case was simple.
Stander said that both Vumazonke and Siyoni knew Jayde's car registration number, they both had knowledge of where her friend Cherise Swanepoel lived, where Jayde lived and that they traveled together to Riebeek College where Jayde taught.
"Vumazonke was at the house minutes before the deceased left for work. How would he know? Who else would know the time the deceased left for work other than accused number 1 [Christopher Panayiotou]?" Stander asked.
Stander said that after the murder took place Siyoni had waited the whole night at Panayiotou's Infinity nightclub for the money to be paid to him. "It is my submission that [Panayiotou's] version of events that Siyoni was fetched to point out ATM machines in Kwazakhele was merely a smokescreen for him making a payment to Siyoni.
"On the evening of 21 April 2015 at 23:50pm, when [Panayiotou] wanted to meet with Siyoni he phoned him on 0822601360. There is no indication that [Panayiotou] attempted to contact Siyoni on any other number. [Panayiotou] therefore knew that the number used by Siyoni was 0822601360. However, when he was asked by [Warrant Officer] Koen for the number of Siyoni, he failed to furnish the 0826304096 number, the 0822601360 number or the 0782350557 number. This is a clear indication that he did not want the police to trace Siyoni."
Stander further said that Panayiotou demonstrated a pattern to conceal communication, whereas he had told Siyoni and another one of his employees, Mawonga Ndedwa, to destroy their SIM cards.
Stander said during an earlier bail application Panayiotou had claimed he had told police he had met up with Siyoni. "This is a blatant lie because the meeting was only set up an hour after he had spoke to the police".
According to the State, Panayiotou acted in such a way that he did not want the police to know about his meeting and what was said in the meeting with Siyoni. "This submission is of course supported by the video footage of the meeting in the vehicle showing how Panayiotou was searching Siyoni in order to ascertain whether he had a recording device on him."
The case was postponed until Tuesday for the defence to present its closing arguments.