Jayde Panayiotou’s family wept on Monday afternoon as close-ups were shown of her body, including her face, as it was found on April 22 last year, already in rigor mortis.
Judge Dayalin Chetty had earlier warned the gallery that graphic scenes would be shown during the testimony of Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker, who combed the murder scene after Jayde’s body was found.
Jayde’s husband, Christopher Panayiotou, is accused of orchestrating her murder. He looked intently at Bekker as he testified.
Panayiotou’s mother, Fanoula Panayiotou, also cried while other members of the Panayiotou family sat with their heads bowed as the pictures – Jayde wearing a hoodie that was pulled over her head – were shown on an overhead screen.
Bekker, who has 17 years experience and has investigated about 8 500 crime scenes, described his observations up arriving at the scene that morning.
“The crime scene was very well managed by police. The crime scene was undisturbed on my arrival. Only members of K-9 unit were active,” he said.
He showed the court several pictures of the crime scene, including aerials which showed where a car drove up to the site where Jayde’s body was found and veered to the side of the dirt road.
He then moved on to the images of Jayde’s body.
“The body was of an adult female, fully dressed with all clothing in tact. Rigor mortis had already set in,” Bekker said.
Jayde’s mother, Michelle Inggs, held on to her young daughter Toni. The Inggs family sat near the back of the court, crying.
Various images showed the extent of Jayde’s injuries including cuts to her fingers, likely from when her rings were ripped off or the boot slamming shut on her hand. In the images Jayde, her brown hair in a ponytail and wearing a grey hoodie with “#hockey” written on the back, has her left arm curled up to her chest.