Panayiotou murder trial takes a turn in week three with arrest of state witness

Babalwa Breakfast is taken to the holding cells Picture: Eugene Coetzee
Babalwa Breakfast is taken to the holding cells
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

Police evidence dominated week three of the Christopher Panayiotou murder trial, but it was the arrest of a state witness when she changed her version that had everyone gasping.

Senior court reporter KATHRYN KIMBERLEY recaps some of the jaw dropping moments.

State witness Babalwa Breakfast has been taken into custody after being declared a hostile witness Picture: Eugene Coetzee
State witness Babalwa Breakfast has been taken into custody after being declared a hostile witness
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

From the prosecution:
• The state’s expert witness, Lorenz Stoger, explained how a tracker fitted in the Toyota Etios allegedly used to kidnap Jayde Panayiotou on April 21 last year, circled her Stellen Glen complex in Kabega Park – going no faster than 25km/h – before suddenly stopping, then speeding off again. Later, the vehicle stopped on the outskirts of PE where Jayde was shot dead.
• Warrant Officer Johannes Botes of the Mount Road vehicle theft unit, said the woman who rented the car to alleged triggerman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, cried when she realised her car had been used in the commission of an offence.
• Babalwa Breakfast, the girlfriend of middleman Luthando Siyoni, did an about turn in court, denying the contents of her two police statements. Breakfast denied telling police that money found in Siyoni’s gym bag was payment for a hit on Jayde.
• Constable Yandiswa Kumla said he wrote down exactly what Breakfast relayed to him on April 28 last year.
• Panayiotou’s former business partner, Noxy Sokuta, said Siyoni visited Infinity Cocktail Bar on April 21, shortly after Jayde was reported missing. He said he needed R30000 from Panayiotou.
• Brigadier Gary McLaren said he arranged for Siyoni to be taken to Fort Beaufort to make a confession. He said this was done to get Siyoni away from the media.

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke at an earlier court appearance Picture: Screengrab / YouTube
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke at an earlier court appearance
Picture: Screengrab / YouTube

From the defence:

• Advocate Terry Price SC and attorney Peter Daubermann poked holes in much of the testimony of Botes, showing two inaccuracies in recordings in the police register.
• Botes, who claimed he was tired and that it was a simple “human error”, signed next to an incorrect explanation of how Vumazonke sustained a swollen eye.
• Breakfast said money found in her boyfriend’s gym bag was meant for the renovations of his Zwide gym. She said police failed to read her statement back to her.
• The Defence accused the state of using bullying tactics by having Breakfast arrested.

 

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