School teacher Jayde Panayiotou, whose body was found a day after she was kidnapped in Kabega Park at about 6:30 am while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage. Picture: Facebook
Port Elizabeth - The defence will call five witnesses in the trial in which businessman Christopher Panayiotou is accused of the  murder of his school teacher wife, Jayde, whose body was found a day after she was kidnapped in Kabega Park at about 6:30am, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage.

The prosecution called more than 40 witnesses in the trial in the Port Elizabeth High Court before the State closed its case.

Family friend, Anthony Emmett, who is the regional operations manager for the OK Grocer franchise, testified on Wednesday, as well as Panayiotou's relative, Marizio Bertolani.

Emmett testified that on the day Jayde's body was discovered, Christopher was very distraught. "I had never seen him like that, at one stage he called me and he was crying," said Emmet.

In November, a family friend married to a Panayiotou relative, Pieter Bekker, testified that the businessman had shown no emotion upon hearing his wife's body had been found.

Emmet also testified to the firing of an OK grocer employee, Mawonga Ndedwa, in the presence of himself, Fanoula Panayiotou and Panayiotou's mistress, Chanelle Coutts.

Ndedwa had earlier told the state that he had found R30,000 in a bag in a storeroom at the Panayiotou’s OK Grocer store. He said Panayiotou told him the money was for Luthando Siyoni, who allegedly found the hitman who killed Jayde. 

Emmet said that Ndedwa told him: "Mamma [Fanoula] must pay R150,000 she must phone me within five hours or I'm going to the police." 

Ndedwa alleged that Panayiotou had used his phone and SIM card. But prosecutor Marius Stander wanted to know why Emmet did not ask Ndedwa to who he was referring to. Emmett replied that he was just not interested. 

Meanwhile, the defence is expected to call Laurika Booi on Friday. Murder accused Panayiotou allegedly registered his Inet Lounge in the Cotswold shopping centre complex in Booi's name.

The businessman's mistress is also expected to be called later next month, but Judge Dayalin Chetty asked that a plan be made for Coutts to be called sooner. 

Advocate Terry Price said he would try to make an arrangement, however, Coutts could not get leave at her new place of employment at a Spar. 

Price said they were busy consulting with an American cellphone plotting expert, but could not confirm if he would be called to the stand.

Price said their own cellphone expert Heather McGregor no longer wanted to to assist the defence by testifying at court and was "simply not playing ball".

Christopher Panayiotou will not be asked to testify.

The trial continues on Thursday when Advocate Selvan Gounden from the DPP will be cross-examined by the State.  

African News Agency