Co-accused links to Jayde murder ‘coincidental’

Zolani Sibeko seen here with attorney Peter Daubermann
File picture: Eugene Coetzee

A lawyer for businessman Christopher Panayiotou’s co-accused said there was very little tying his clients to Jayde’s kidnapping and murder on April 21 2015.

Defence attorney Peter Daubermann was questioning the state’s data investigating analyst, Thereza Botha, in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday as she took to the stand for the third day.

Through cellphone data, Botha had placed alleged co-conspirator Zolani Sibeko’s phone in the vicinity of Jayde’s Stellen Glen residential complex in Kabega Park days before the murder, while the handset of one of the alleged hitmen, Sinethemba Nemembe, was allegedly in the vicinity at the time of Jayde’s abduction.

Daubermann said according to the state’s own evidence, when suspected triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke hired the vehicle allegedly used to conduct the kidnapping, Sibeko was not yet in the picture.

Daubermann said according to the evidence before court, Sibeko only came into the picture – for a brief period – on April 11, when Botha submitted he was “scouting” Jayde’s residence late that night.

“Data analysis does not place Sibeko at the scene at the time of the kidnapping or her murder [in KwaNobuhle],” Daubermann said.

Asked then to describe the term “scouting”, Botha said it was a “fixed pattern in organised crime before a crime takes place”.

“The relevance here is that the handset of Sibeko communicated with the handset of Vumazonke and then he moved into the reception area of the Linton Grange tower [near Stellen Glen],” Botha said.

Turning to April 15 and 16, several calls were made between Sibeko and the now deceased Vumazonke’s handsets and they were both, at times, close to Jayde’s home.

Daubermann said Botha had no idea what the relationship between Sibeko and Vumazonke was and what they actually communicated about on the days in question.

“All we have is a hypothesis that he scouted the area,” Daubermann said.

Turning to the evidence involving Nemembe, Daubermann said he only came into the picture on the day of the murder.

At 5.51am, Vumazonke’s rental car drove into close proximity of Nemembe’s home. At 6.26am, their handsets both picked up reception from the Linton Grange tower.

Then, at 7.32am, Nemembe’s handset picked up reception in KwaNobuhle, along with the GPS tracker on the vehicle.

“You have no evidence to support an allegation that prior to 21 April, an agreement was made between them to kill Jayde,” Daubermann said.

He said that it could have been purely coincidental that Vumazonke and Nemembe happened to be in the same areas at the same time.

Botha said she had noted a sudden frequency of calls between the role players in the time surrounding the crime. The communication then subsided.

The trial continues today.

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