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Undercover Panayiotou video shown in court‚ two years after his wife’s murder

14 June 2017 - 06:19 By TimesLIVE

An undercover video of Christopher Panayiotou taken on April 29 2015 showed him in a panicked state as he explained how the killers of his wife botched the killing which was supposed to look like a robbery.

The video was played in the high court in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday‚ just over two years after Jayde was killed on April 13 2015.

The court ruled on Monday that the video was admissible.

Panayiotou was arrested in April 2015 in connection with Jayde’s murder.

He was charged with murder‚ conspiracy to commit murder‚ kidnapping and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

It is alleged Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoli‚ his employee at the time‚ to hire Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Sinethemba Nenembe to kidnap and murder Jayde.

Panayiotou’s arrest happened after Siyoli was arrested immediately after the murder.

Siyoli supplied detectives with a step-by-step version of events which led to Panayiotou’s arrest.

A Herald exclusive: The secret recording in which murder accused Christopher Panayiotou chats to self-confessed middleman Luthando Siyoni shortly after the ...

Part of Jayde’s abduction and murder was to make it appear like a botched robbery while she was waiting for a lift club to collect her and take her to work.

Her body was found the next day on a farm in Uitenhage. She had been shot three times.

Panayiotou was arrested after Siyoli contacted him‚ while still in police custody‚ demanding more money due to the media “hype” around the murder.

A sting operation was set up and the transaction was arranged while undercover police operatives watched.

Although the transcript of the sting operation was provided to the court in May 2015‚ there has been a trial within a trial concerning whether the video should be admitted to court.

The defence claimed Siyoli‚ who turned state witness‚ was tortured by police and forced to get his former boss to incriminate himself.

In the video played on Wednesday‚ Panayiotou is heard saying: “I told you to let them do it outside the house and take the bags and the rings and then they didn’t take the watch or anything.

“They just left everything there‚ you see‚ so it looks like a hit now. So they are after me‚ and that’s why I can’t just meet you in front of people like this Thando.”

In September last year‚ alleged hitman Vumazonke slipped into a coma‚ following reports he might have been poisoned. He died on September 7.

The trial began in October last year‚ despite the death of Vumazonke.

The court heard testimony from‚ among others‚ a sangoma named Zoleka Zekani that her sister’s son Vumazonke came to her house shivering after Jayde’s s murder.

Siyoli‚ who is a state witness‚ testified in November that police had tortured him‚ forcing him to implicate Panayiotou.

Siyoli was declared a hostile witness by Judge Dayalin Chetty after he refused to answer questions put to him by the prosecution.

The court ruled on Monday that the video was admissible‚ but the defence asked the judge to recuse himself.

Defence counsel Terry Price SC had wanted the judge to give reasons for admitting the video.

Chetty said he would provide reasons at the end of the trial.