Sex, sleaze and selfies

UNDER SCRUTINY: Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou arrives at the Port Elizabeth High Cour t yesterday on day three of the hearing  Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
UNDER SCRUTINY: Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou arrives at the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday on day three of the hearing

Graphic details of how Christopher cheated on wife

Photographs of Jayde Panayiotou’s husband, Christopher, in bed with his mistress, hotel romps and holidays away came to the fore yesterday as the murder accused’s dirty laundry was aired in court.

Clarishka Kapp, 27, tried to shield herself from the public gallery, facing Judge Dayalin Chetty head-on, as she told how she had often accompanied Panayiotou’s mistress – her best friend Chanelle Coutts, 28 – to Jayde’s home when she was out.

Coutts, Kapp and Panayiotou would spend evenings drinking and eating at the Panayiotous’ Kabega Park home, with Coutts even sleeping over on occasion.

Some evenings were spent at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park. Kapp said Panayiotou, 30, had even been Coutts’s plus one when her sister got married.

On April 26 last year, just five days after Jayde, 29, went missing, Kapp went to visit her frantic best friend at the Panayiotou family’s OK Grocer in Algoa Park.

“She was freaked out after being with the police,” Kapp said.

Kapp went home that evening and deleted any trace of Coutts and Panayiotou’s relationship from her phone. Among the items deleted were photographs of the couple in bed together, sent to her by Coutts.

Panayiotou stared down at his shoes as details of his lengthy affair were recalled.

Just two days earlier, his lawyers had told the court that he had been happily married and loved his wife dearly.

Panayiotou’s parents sat directly behind him, their expressions unreadable.

The businessman admitted to the affair during his first bail application shortly after his arrest last year.

He started seeing Coutts romantically in 2012, a year before he married Jayde.

Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating Jayde’s murder by hiring hitmen to kidnap and murder her.

The state claims he was unable to divorce the Riebeek College teacher and could not afford to keep up two relationships.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nemembe, 28, and Zolani Sibeko, 35, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Kapp, of Algoa Park, said her childhood friend had introduced her to Panayiotou in September 2011, when the relationship between the two was strictly professional.

Panayiotou was part owner of the OK Grocer where Coutts worked.

The relationship escalated to the two becoming friends and later lovers.

Kapp said the three of them would have supper at Jayde and Christopher’s Stellen Glen complex when Jayde was out visiting family.

Panayiotou had even braaied for them one evening at the house.

Asked by state advocate Marius Stander if she recalled the day Jayde and Panayiotou had got engaged, Kapp said Coutts had not seemed to be upset at the time.

She had only voiced concern when they tied the knot in June 2013.

“We spoke on the day of the wedding. She was very upset because they [Coutts and Panayiotou] were in a relationship,” Kapp said.

She said Panayiotou had even phoned her that day, joking that she should come and kidnap him.

“He was unsure if he was doing the right thing [marrying Jayde]. He was scared he would lose Chanelle.”

But Panayiotou and Coutts became even closer and the businessman spoilt her with expensive gifts like Polo handbags, a GHD hair straightener, jewellery and even a deposit on a car in April 2014.

“He would often phone me for suggestions on what to buy for Chanelle,” Kapp said.

To celebrate Coutts’s birthday on September 29 2014, the three travelled to George, where they spent two nights in a guesthouse.

Kapp said she had slept in one room, while Panayiotou and Coutts shared another.

“Chris told me that he loved Chanelle. And she loved him,” Kapp said.

She said he had often been jealous.

“He once saw Coutts had been chatting to someone on Facebook and it upset him.”

According to her, Coutts had been upset and had become depressed when Panayiotou and Jayde bought a R2.2-million house in Lovemore Park shortly before Jayde’s death.

Displaying Kapp’s phone records on the overhead projector, Stander said the highlighted portions indicated contact with Panayiotou.

Asked what the countless calls between the two had been about, Kapp said she would often have to console Panayiotou when he and Coutts fought.

At other times, she advised him on what gifts to buy. Panayiotou’s advocate, Terry Price SC, will cross-examine Kapp on Monday.

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