Judge Dayalin Chetty sentenced Christopher Panayiotou to life behind bars in the Port Elizabeth High Court today (24/11/17) for the murder of his wife Jayde.
Chetty said the businessman showed absolutely no remorse and remained defiant throughout trial.
Hitman Sinethemba Nemembe was sentenced to life for the murder, plus an additional 15 years for robbing Jayde. Zolani Sibeko received a sentence of 15 years in prison for conspiracy.
Watch the moment they are found guilty here:
Christopher and Nemembe were found guilty earlier this month of pre-meditated murder while Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Last Friday (17/11/17) an emotional Toni Inggs, the younger sister Jayde Panayiotou, took to the stand in aggravation of sentence.
Reading a statement she had prepared, Inggs said she had decided a year ago to ask if she could address those responsible for her sister’s murder in April 2015 – husband Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko.
“To stand here and say that I hate the three of you would truly be an understatement of how I feel about you and what you have done to my family,” she said.
“I have watched my mom and dad fall apart over and over and over again because of you and all I can do is stand back and watch, I have never felt more helpless in my life. How do you comfort your mother when her daughter has been murdered, execution style at the hands of her husband?”
“Guilty, guilty, guilty” – the words Jayde’s family had waited so long to hear echoed across the packed courtroom, eliciting clapping and cheers from the gallery as judgment was read out earlier this month.
Panayiotou’s face reddened and his family seated directly behind him in the Port Elizabeth High Court began to cry.
WATCH: The moment Christopher Panayiotou is found guilty:
Uitenhage teacher Jayde, 29, went missing from outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21 2015. Her body was found in KwaNobuhle the next day.
Chetty said an inference could properly be made from the gun residue found on her hand that, in her final moments, she had begged for mercy.
“That act of supplication, however, elicited a bullet to her head. The medical and ballistic findings compel the conclusion that this was an execution-style murder.”
Also watch: How the Panayiotou Trial unfolded:
Chetty made some key findings during his mammoth judgment earlier this month, including that:
• Jayde Panayiotou was shot execution-style. This was backed up by the gun residue found on her hand as she tried to shield herself from the final bullet to her head.
• Middleman Luthando Siyoni and his girlfriend, Babalwa Breakfast, were suborned to recant their police statements, taking the state by surprise.
• Defence Advocate Terry Price’s assailment of Siyoni’s initial lawyer, Legal Aid SA Advocate Johan van der Spuy, and the besmirching of his character were scandalous.
• Allegations that the police threatened Siyoni to meet with Panayiotou by telling him that St Albans Prison was no bed of roses, and the time he faced, could not be seen as a threat.
• Siyoni was not beaten up. These claims were concocted to bolster Panayiotou’s defence.
• Prior authorisation for a sting operation in which Panayiotou incriminated himself was not needed from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
• Both Siyoni and Panayiotou met willingly after the murder.
• Panayiotou’s involvement was proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the recorded conversation as his intimate knowledge of the kidnapping and murder became clear.
Middleman Luthando Siyoni faces arrest and will now stand trial for Jayde’s murder, among other charges, the Port Elizabeth High Court ruled on Thursday.
Judge Dayalin Chetty found Siyoni to be a liar who was possibly bribed to change his version in court.