PORT ELIZABETH – The Eastern Cape Acting Provincial Head for the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Major-General Zintle Mnonopi has commended the investigating team, the NPA and the SAPS which led to the conviction of Christopher Panayiotou (31), Sinethemba Nenembe (29) and Zolani Sibeko (36) by the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.

“I hope that court decision give some satisfaction to the victim’s family. This horrible crime changed their lives forever. I would like to thank them for the patience and trust they have placed in us and for the dignity they have shown during the course of the trial.

“I am very grateful to the prosecution team for the way they have presented the case at court and to the superb team of officers and staff from the Hawks and SAPS who have shown great dedication and professionalism for the last two years in first apprehending and then prosecuting these three dangerous individuals. Together we have finally achieved what the Jayde family and their friends wanted all along which was justice for her,” she said.

Port Elizabeth businessman Panayiotou was found guilty by the Port Elizabeth High court for the April 2015 murder of his wife Jayde Panayiotou. His two co-accused Nenembe was found guilty for murder and robbery while Sibeko was found guilty for conspiracy to commit murder.

Jayde’ who was 29-years-old during the time of her death’ was abducted on 21 April 2015 outside her Kabega Park townhouse in Port Elizabeth. She was a school teacher in Uitenhage and her body was found on a farm in Rocklands near Uitenhage the following day. It is alleged that Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, who died during September 2016, was hired by Panayiotou to kill Jayde.

Vumazonke was allegedly recruited by Luthando Siyoni, a former bouncer and Panayiotou’s Infinity cocktail lounge. Panayiotou paid Siyoni R80 000 who in turn allegedly paid Vumazonke half of that amount for killing Jayde. Siyoni turned State witness during the trial, however, he was declared a hostile witness.

It is alleged that after Vumazonke approached Nenembe for assistance the two shoved Jayde into their rental car and drove to an open field in KwaNobuhle near Uitenhage’ where she was shot and killed. The three will be sentenced on 17 November 2017 before the same court.