Christopher Panayiotou is expected to appear in the Port Elizabeth magistrate's court for his bail hearing.
PORT ELIZABETH – The cellphone number of Christopher Panayiotou’s mistress, Chanelle Coutts, was in communication with that of an alleged potential hitman known as “Trompie” 19 times, it emerged in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday.
Trompie was allegedly approached to kill Jayde Panayiotou.
Self-confessed middleman and bouncer Luthando Siyoni had allegedly arranged a meeting between Panayiotou and Trompie during 2014 after the businessman told Siyoni to source someone to kill his schoolteacher wife. According to Siyoni’s affidavit, nothing materialised after the meeting and other alleged hitmen were approached.
National investigative analyst Thereza Botha testified in the murder trial on Tuesday and began painting an intricate pattern of how various cellphone numbers of role players, together with geographical analysis, linked in a series of events preceding the murder of Jayde Panayiotou in April 2015.
Data analysis indicates that a number, believed to belong to Coutts, communicated with Trompie on 19 occasions for five days between September and October 2014.
Through cellphone data Botha indicated that on December 23, 2014, Sizwe Vumazonke, the alleged shooter, visited the reception area of Linton Grange at random times on approximately 44 occasions.This area was near Jayde’s Stelen Glen complex.
Cellphone data also pinpoints Vumazonke outside the home of Jayde’s friend Cherise Swanepoel on 12 April and again on 13 April 2015.
Botha also established frequent communication between Vumazonke’s handset and that of Panayiotou’s cousin Claudio Bertolani.
Advocate Terry Price objected to this evidence and questioned its relevance, but Botha insisted that she noted it because Vumazonke and Panayiotou both made contact with a number associated with Bertolani.
“Association between [Panayiotou] and Claudio Bertolani indicates 810 instances of communication between 1 September 2014 and time of arrest on 29 April 2015,” Botha said.
Vumazonke’s call data during April 2015, the month of Jayde’s killing, shows communication between other alleged co-conspirators, Khusta [Vandala], Zolani Sibeko, Zinzi and middleman Siyoni .
Jayde Panayiotou’s mother and sister, Michelle and Toni Inggs, appeared sad and emotional in the court on Tuesday, particularly when Botha testified on the communication pattern between Panayiotou and Coutts while he was at the Inggs family farm with Jayde.
While there was no cellphone communication between Panayiotou and Coutts during these farm visits, the businessman called the OK Grocer landline on several occasions. Coutts was a manager at the store.
She also indicated that Panayiotou’s and Coutt’s calls were often the very last they made for the day.
Botha said that Coutts’s cell data indicated that she would spend time at Jayde’s home while the schoolteacher was out of town.
“Although there might be more incidents, Coutt’s handset seems to have spent the night in the vicinity of the residence of [Jayde], when [Jayde] was away from home,” she said.
Such instances were during 2014 and 2015 when Jayde was in Gauteng or at her family’s farm.
Panayiotou is accused of paying Siyoni, a bouncer from his Infinity nightclub, to hire Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.
Jayde was kidnapped on 21 April outside the couple’s complex, Stelen Glen in Kabega Park, while she was waiting for a lift to work.
The state alleges that Sinethemba Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and murder the school teacher at the behest of her husband. Vumazonke has since died.
According to the state, Sibeko is linked to the crime through cellphone mapping that placed him outside Jayde’s complex in the days before her murder. The state alleges that Sibeko and Vandala were approached by Vumazonke to organise a firearm for the killing.
Botha will continue with her testimony on Wednesday.