Jayde Panayiotou was married to a man she adored, had a job she loved and a family who supported her in every way possible. She and her husband Christopher had invested in a home valued at R2.2 million in one of Port Elizabeth's more prosperous suburbs and she was probably looking forward to raising a family there. In short, Jayde was living the perfect life.
But fate, and Christopher, had other plans for the popular 28-year-old Riebeek College Girls’ High School teacher.
In April 2015, Jayde was kidnapped from the driveway of the couple's home. After being driven to a remote area on the outskirts of Kwanobhule, the man hired by her husband to kill her shot Jayde twice in the back and once through the head.
The court later heard that Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer at his nightclub, R80 000 to hire a hitman to kill his wife. The businessman was having financial problems and had also fallen in love with another woman.
While Christopher claimed in court that his marriage to Jayde was a happy one, the court heard he was actually living a double life and was in a sense “married” to his mistress, Chanelle Coutts. Panayiotou had Jayde killed because he could no longer afford to keep both his mistress and his wife happy.
Christopher Panayiotou was found guilty of the murder of his wife, while his co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe was found guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstance and Zolani Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. Luthando Siyoni had initially enjoyed immunity from prosecution but has since been arrested and is awaiting trial for his part in the murder plot.
Jayde's family has been left devasted by her murder at the hands of a man who they had accepted into the heart of their family.
Jayde Panayiotou will never celebrate another Women's Month, another birthday or Christmas with her family. Her She will never see the pupils she enjoyed nurturing and teaching reach their full potential. Jayde will never get the chance to fulfil her own dreams.
For Jayde's sake and the sake of women everywhere, if you know somebody who has committed an act of violence against a woman Don't Look Away
If you know a young woman's life is in danger, Don't Look Away
If you are able to help prevent another tragedy, Don't Look Away
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