The morning of Jayde Panayiotou’s murder was relived in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday as trial got underway.
Jayde’s husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Jayde.
A fourth accused‚ Sizwezakhe “Sizwe” Vumazonke‚ died last month after slipping into a coma.
Reading out a timeline of events, prosecutor Marius Stander described how Jayde – a Riebeek College Girls’ High School teacher – was abducted from outside her Kabega Park home on April 21 last year.
Stander, retracing the morning’s events using cellphone billing, said Jayde was still in contact with colleague Cherise Swanepoel with whom she car-pooled at 6.27am that morning.
“Telephone billing shows that accused number two [Vumazonke] was dropped outside the complex while accused three [Nemembe] circled complex no less than eight times,” Stander said.
“When Cherise Swanepoel arrived at Stellen Glen, Jayde was nowhere to be seen.”
Stander said the state would argue that the tracker would indicate Jayde was kidnapped from the pavement in front of the complex.
“[Jayde] was shot first twice in the back, she then fell down. One of the men stood over her and shot her in the head,” he said.
Stander said Panayiotou and Siyoni were identified as suspects as early as April 22 – the day, after she went missing, her body was found.
He said Vumazonke, who died last month after slipping into a coma, visited a spiritual healer to be “cleansed” while he had Jayde’s laptop and bag in his possession.
Earlier on Tuesday, Panayiotou’s advocate, Terry Price SC, said the state had struggled in vain to find a motive for him to kill Jayde.
“As far as I was concerned, Jayde and I were happily married,” Price read from Panayiotou’s lengthy plea explanation.
The defence then accused the police of police of using deceitful, underhanded tactics in an attempt to build a case against him.
Panayiotou said he had attempted to cooperate with the police, but hell-bent on implicating him, they went to every length to force self-confessed middleman Luthando Siyoni to confess and implicate him.
“The state struggled in vain to find a motive. They delved into my most personal financial records,” Price read.
Panayiotou said legal experts had explained to him how his right to a fair trial was trashed by the state.
The matter was postponed to Wednesday after Stander called for an adjournment.