The sensational Panayiotou murder trial reached its halfway mark with an emotional week of testimony as Jayde’s injuries were shown in photographs to the court and her grieving father took the stand, writes senior court reporter Kathryn Kimberley.
From the prosecution:
- Jayde’s mom, Michelle Inggs, and sister, Toni, cried as photographs of the schoolteacher’s injuries were shown to the Port Elizabeth High Court via the overhead projector. Her hand was clenched in a fist, with abrasions on her fingers caused either when her rings were pried off by the perpetrators or slammed in the boot of their car. She had no defensive wounds.
- Police expert Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker reconstructed the crime scene, using images to show the court exactly what he believed took place on the morning of April 21 last year. He said it was likely that Jayde had been crouched down on her haunches when she was shot in the back.
- Blue Star sprayed in the boot of the vehicle allegedly used to kidnap Jayde reacted positively to what Bekker believed was blood.
- Bekker said the vehicle, a rented Toyota Etios, had been parked outside alleged triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke’s home on the nights leading up to the murder.
- Jayde’s father, Derrick Inggs, choked back tears as he told the court how he had been friends with his son-in-law and considered him to be a good man.
- Panayiotou family friend Pieter Bekker said the murder accused had not seemed very emotional when he was told Jayde was dead.
- State advocate Marius Stander said a gambling joint, which allegedly fronted as an internet cafe in Cotswold, was possibly where Panayiotou had got the R80 000 allegedly used to pay the suspected hitmen.
- The state managed to have the cellphone numbers of alleged hitman Sinethemba Nemembe admitted into evidence following an objection by the defence. They will now use these numbers to try to link him to Jayde’s kidnapping and murder.
From the defence
- The defence will cross-examine Bekker next week.
- Defence advocate Terry Price SC said cellphone records showed Inggs was mistaken with his times relating to his search for Jayde. Price also said Panayiotou had fetched alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni from his home to assist in the search, and not from the Infinity Club as alleged by Inggs.
- In another emotional moment, Price sympathised with Inggs for his loss.
- Price told Pieter Bekker that his statement about Panayiotou’s emotional state was gratuitous, and that when Jayde’s body was found he had cried.
- Price objected to the evidence about internet cafe Inet Lounge, saying his client was not on trial for fraud or illegal gambling.