Panayiotou pretrial hearing postponed, suspect in coma

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Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth High Court alongside two co-accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke (centre) and Sinethemba Nenembe.

JOHANNESBURG - The four men who stand accused of orchestrating the murder of Jayde Panayiotou in April last year appeared in court on Monday for another pretrial conference in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

The pretrial was again remanded to the 15th of September, as Sizwezakhe Vumasonke has been hospitalised and reports suggest, is in a coma.

Christopher Panayiotou, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are facing charges including conspiracy to commit murder, murder and abduction.

During their last appearance, Vumazonke had apparently been violently ill in the holding cells.

He struggled up the stairs and appeared to have lost a lot of weight since his last appearance. Vumazonke’s lawyer Hannelie Bakker told Judge Glenn Goosen during their last appearance in August that Nenembe and Vumazonke are incarcerated in the same cell, Nenembe has been assisting him,” said Bakker.

Bakker added that while Vumazonke had received some medical treatment at St Albans Prison, it was not helping his condition.

Jayde was abducted from in front of her Stellen Glen complex in Kabega Park where she was allegedly forced into the boot of a hired vehicle and driven to a remote area near KwaNobuhle, where she was murdered.

It is alleged that Panayiotou approached a bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, who worked for him to hire a hitman, believed to be Vumazonke, to murder his wife. Siyoni has since turned state’s witness and the charges against him have since been withdrawn.

- Additional reporting ANA -