Christopher Panayiotou got his cake and ate it, as the murder accused celebrated his 30th birthday in prison yesterday – a milestone his wife never reached.
Plates of bacon and eggs, Greek salad and other food were packed into a crate and carried into the consulting room at the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, where the businessman is standing trial for allegedly orchestrating his wife, Jayde’s, murder.
A family friend of the Panayiotous was also spotted earlier by journalists carrying a cake and a happy birthday candle to the coffee shop opposite the court.
When court adjourned at midday, the cake was carried to the consulting room where Panayiotou met his family, close friends and legal team.
The cake was carried through without being checked by security.
It was only after journalists asked why the Panayiotou family was permitted to enter without being searched that security officials were reluctant to allow the food into the building, eventually giving it to Panayiotou’s lawyer, Alwyn Griebenow, to carry inside.
Griebenow said the food was meant for the defence team and the people they consulted with, which sometimes included Panayiotou and his family.
“The cake was for Christopher’s birthday and his parents’ wedding anniversary today [yesterday],” he said.
Court manager Ilona Buys said she was not aware that the Panayiotou family had brought food to court almost every day since the start of the trial on October 11.
She said they should have been searched by security at the door and that she would investigate the matter.
Griebenow said the police inside the building had done a thorough inspection of the food before allowing it into the consulting room.
Jayde was 29 when she was murdered in April last year. For what would have been her 30th birthday seven months later, on November 22, family and friends came together to complete her bucket list which had been read out by Panayiotou at her funeral.
The list comprised simple pleasures such as going to Cape Town on holiday, getting another tattoo and staying up all night to see the sunrise.
This is Panayiotou’s second birthday behind bars.
Yesterday, criminal expert Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker said according to GPS coordinates from the rental vehicle allegedly used to kidnap Jayde, the car was parked overnight at suspected triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke’s home in KwaNobuhle between April 9 and April 23.
On April 14, the white Toyota Etios stopped outside middleman Luthando Siyoni’s house.
On April 21, Bekker believes the vehicle travelled to Jayde’s Kabega Park home, circled the area, then accelerated and sped right up to the complex gate.
It travelled to the point where Jayde’s body was discovered the following day, Bekker said.
The trial continues.