It looks like a hit now: Panayiotou to so-called middleman


Chris Panayiotou appears at the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on charges related to the kidnapping and murder of his wide Jade, on 4 May 2015.

PORT ELIZABETH – "You see, so it looks like a hit now," Christopher Panayiotou told alleged middleman Luthando Siyoli one week after Panayiotou&39;s wife Jayde was found dead in a field.

The two men met after 7pm on Wednesday, 29 April 2015. Panayiotou (28) circled the location where they were meeting and got into a car to speak with Siyoli (31). 

Siyoli worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou&39;s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Port Elizabeth. The State alleges Panayiotou masterminded Jayde&39;s murder with Siyoli acting as the broker between his employer and a hitman.

“Why are the police after you?” Panayiotou asked his employee. “I don’t know,” replied Siyoli. “I think there is an informer somewhere, somehow.”

By that time, however, Siyoli was working with the police, and the car in which he was sitting in had been rigged with hidden recording equipment.

A police investigating officer submitted a transcription of the conversation during proceedings in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate&39;s Court on Thursday, 21 May.

Police taped secret meeting

When Panayiotou entered the vehicle, he removed the battery from his phone and told Siyoli to do the same.

"Don’t phone me or SMS me,"Panayiotou instructed him. 

The 28-year-old paid the bouncer R5,000 to flee to Jeffrey’s Bay.

"You need to be gone for a few months till this thing calms down," Panayiotou said.

ABOVE: Luthando Siyoli worked as a bouncer at Infinity Cocktail Bar, owned by Christopher Panayiotou. Both men were arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of Panayiotou&39;s wife, Jayde, who went missing on 21 April 2015. Police found her body a day later, dumped in a field. She was shot twice in the back and once in the head.

The men said they expected a police investigation. Siyoli told Panayiotou: "You mos told me we will be investigated." 

"Yes," replied Panayiotou, who asked his employee if police questioned Siyoli about him.

"So they didn’t ask anything about me? … Or if I’m involved or anything?"

Halfway through the conversation, Panayiotou checked Siyoli for wires but found none. He then spoke about some "boys" and the instructions given to Siyoli.

"I told you to let them do it outside the house and take the bags and the rings," said Panayiotou.

"They just left everything there," Panayiotou continued. "You see, 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."

Panayiotou and his lawyers have argued the audio recording of the men&39;s conversation is inadmissible.



Charges against Panayiotou

The State alleged Panayiotou masterminded his wife’s murder and had made two previous attempts on her life from September 2014.



Panayioutou faces charges of defeating the ends of justice, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

He denied accusations of masterminding Jayde’s death. His lawyer said the businessman would plead “not guilty” to the murder charge.

Panayiotou admitted to contacting Siyoli, but says it had nothing to do with Jayde&39;s murder. 

The teacher&39;s husband and two co-accused Siyoli and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, who accused police of assaulting him when he was taken into custody, will face murder charges.

ABOVE: Alleged hit man Sizwesakhe Vumazonke appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on 5 May 2015 with a swollen, bruised face (pictured) . He claims police assaulted him during his arrest.

ABOVE: Port Elizabeth couple Jayde and Christopher Panayiotou were high school sweethearts, who dated for ten years, and married in 2013. During his bail application Panayiotou conceded he had an intermittent affair with another woman for three years.



Jayde shot twice in the back, once in head

Jayde Panayiotou (29) went missing outside a Port Elizabeth complex on 21 April 2015. Her parents offered a R150,000 reward for her safe return.

A day later, after a vast search, police found her body dumped in a field near KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage. Jayde’s sister Toni Inggs broke down in tears at the scene.

Jayde sustained two shot wounds in the back and one in the head, said police investigating officer Rhynhardt "Kanna" Swanepoel on Thursday.

He testified the teacher endured blunt trauma to the head before she was bundled into the back of a car and abducted.

Swanepoel submitted a 20-page affidavit in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 21 May.

State lawyers used the document to oppose bail for Panayiotou.

Prosecutor Marius Stander argued the businessman – who has a Cypriot passport and relatives in Cyprus – is a flight risk, with few secure assets.

Panayiotou’s bail application was postponed until Tuesday, 26 May.