Woman describes hearing the gunshots that killed Jayde

Rachel Windvogel heard the gunshots that killed Jayde Panayiotou Picture: Eugene Coetzee
Rachel Windvogel heard the gunshots that killed Jayde Panayiotou
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

A woman who lives near the Uitenhage township of KwaNobuhle described on Wednesday afternoon how she heard three gunshots – in short succession – shortly before 7am on April 21 2015.

The shots are the same ones believed to have killed Jayde Panayiotou.

The woman, Rachel Windvogel, was the final witness to be called on day two of the Panayiotou murder trial.

Windvogel told the Port Elizabeth High Court how, having grown up on a farm, she often heard the sound of gunshots and was familiar with it.

“I was shocked and I was scared when I heard the shots,” she said.

“I felt very scared. My parents are old and there was a child in the house.”

She only became aware of what had happened when police arrived with a pamphlet bearing Jayde’s face the next day.

Earlier in the day, months of tension between Jayde Panayiotou’s family and Christopher Panayiotou’s legal team came to a head on Wednesday morning as Jayde’s younger sister, Toni, and advocate Terry Price SC faced off in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Asked why she displayed such hatred towards Panayiotou’s family and his legal team, Inggs said: “You told me in court that I’m f*c*ing stupid.”

Inggs broke down when she described her relationship with Panayiotou.

Jayde Panayiotou's sister Toni Inggs testified in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday Picture: Riaan Marais
Jayde Panayiotou’s sister Toni Inggs testified in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday
Picture: Riaan Marais

“I loved him like a brother.”

Inggs said her sister often spoke to her about her unhappiness in her marriage.

She said she was lonely.

Reading out a letter penned by Jayde – and found in her dressing table drawer after her death – Inggs read: “All I have ever wanted is to be loved.”

But Price referred Inggs to Instagram posts – including one dated August 23 2014 – which painted a picture of a happy couple.

Asked by prosecutor Marius Stander how many of these posts Panayiotou had liked, Inggs said not one.

Inggs said she would continue to fight for justice for Jayde.

“I am angry 90% of the time. My sister has been murdered and I have a right to fight for justice for her.”

The first witness of the day, Jayde’s friend and colleague Cherise Swanepoel, described the frantic search for Jayde on the morning she disappeared.

Swanepoel was the last person to communicate with Jayde prior to her murder on April 21 last year.

She described how, when she arrived outside the Stellen Glen complex in Kabega Park at around 6.30am that day, Jayde was nowhere to be seen.

Thinking something was wrong with Jayde’s cellphone, Swanepoel called the Panayiotou’s landline and later Christopher’s cellphone.

“I asked him where Jayde was and he said ‘what do you mean? She has gone to work’.”

Charise Swanepoel arrives at the Port Elizabeth High Court Picture: Riaan Marais
Charise Swanepoel arrives at the Port Elizabeth High Court
Picture: Riaan Marais

He let her into the complex and the two drove around, frantically looking for Jayde. They spotted a police van and informed the officers what had happened.

Later, movement on Jayde’s bank account saw Swanepoel and Panayiotou drive to Njoli Square.

Asked if Panayiotou seemed concerned that Jayde was missing, she said: “He was very determined to find her.”

Price said Panayiotou had warned Jayde to wait for her lift behind the complex gate as people were often milling around looking for work.

Panayiotou and two other men – Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko – are accused of Jayde’s murder. They have pleaded not guilty.

A third accused, alleged triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke died last month after slipping into a coma while the alleged middle man, Luthando Siyoni, admitted his involvement and implicated Panayiotou.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

 

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