Cyprus Mail

South African Cypriot man found guilty of murdering wife

A South African Cypriot man was found guilty on Thursday of the murder of his wife two years ago, and could receive a life sentence, the South African newspaper Times Live reported.
Christopher Panayiotou, 31, had been a prime suspect for the murder of his wife, Jayde, 29, who went missing from outside her home in Port Elizabeth on April 21, 2015. Her body was found 40km away the next day.
Panayiotou was found guilty on Thursday of masterminding his wife’s murder by the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and his two accomplices, hitman Sinethemba Nemembe, of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and Zolani Sibeko of conspiracy to commit murder. A fourth suspect died in prison from illness. Sentencing has been postponed to November 17.
Medical and ballistic findings, the court said, led to the conclusion that it was an execution-style murder. It added that the gun residue found on Jayde’s hand, showed that she had begged for mercy in her final moments, but led to her receiving a bullet to her head instead.
The verdict was met with relief by Jayde’s family, while Panayiotou’s mother broke down in tears.
Panayiotou was arrested after Luthando Siyoni, another suspect who turned prosecution witness, told police that he had acted as the middle man in finding a hitman, and agreed to participate in a sting operation.
This led to a meeting betwen Panayiotou and Siyoni in a wire-tapped car a few days after the murder to discuss details of what had happened. The video recording proved Panayiotou’s involvement in the case, after he was seen telling Siyoni that the abductors and killers messed up as they were supposed to make it look like a robbery, but it became a kidnapping and a murder instead. Panayiotou was also caught on camera handing money to Siyoni.
The judge concluded: “It is clear the evidence procured [in the car] established Panayiotou’s complicity in Jayde’s murder,” the Times Live reported.
Jayde’s younger sister, Toni Inggs, said her family was elated by the outcome.
“My sister can finally rest and we truly hope that they get the time they deserve with sentencing. “Nothing will bring Jayde back or take away the hurt but, right now, we feel overwhelming joy and appreciation.”

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