King William’s Town- The Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Cape, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga hailed the sentencing of the three murder accused as a victory.
They commended the various policing units including the National Prosecuting Authority for the excellent and professional handling of this case which resulted in the sentencing meted out to Jayde Panayiotou’s killers.
‘We commend all those who were involved ,starting from the time of her disappearance up until the perpetrators were arrested and brought before a court of law. The conviction and sentencing of these suspects is the direct result of the sound, fruitful and ongoing partnership between SAPS and the NPA’ Ntshinga said
On 21st April 2015, Jayde Panayiotou (28 ) , a school teacher disappeared and was last seen outside her residence in Deacon Road Kabega Park. She was waiting for her lift to her school in Uitenhage . Police were alerted of her disappearance and an immediate manhunt was conducted by various police units assisted by members of the community in search of Jayde Panayiotou.
On 22nd April 2015, her body was found in bushes in Kwanobuhle. She was shot three times in her chest, arm and head. Between 27th April and 1st May 2015, three suspects including the husband of the deceased were taken into police custody. Two suspects were later arrested.
In September 2016, accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke ( 30 ) passed away in Livingstone Hospital while awaiting trial. Luthando Siyoni was released in September 2016 after being held in custody in terms of Section 185 of the Criminal Procedure Act ( he believed that his life was in danger but did not want to enter into the Witness Protection programme).
On 2nd November 2017, after a lengthy trial the three remaining accused were found guilty in the Port Elizabeth High court. Christopher Panayiotou (31) was convicted for murder, Sinethemba Nemembe (28) was convicted for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances and Zolani Sibeko(35) was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.
The accused were sentenced as follows :
Christopher Panayiotou : Murder : Life sentence
Sinethemba Nemembe : Murder : Life sentence and Robbery : 15 years. Robbery sentence will run concurrent with the murder sentence
Zolani Sibeko : Conspiracy to commit murder : 15 years imprisonment