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Chris Panayiotou had 'expertly wiped data off phones'

State prosecutor Marius Stander told the court he estimated the trial would only commence in mid-2016.

Christopher Panayiotou in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

PORT ELIZABETH - The Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court on Wednesday heard murder accused Christopher Panayiotou deliberately wiped data from his and his mistress's cellphones days after his wife Jayde's body was discovered in Uitenhage.

Panayiotou is accused of hiring two men to murder his wife last month.

It's alleged he paid the men R70,000 to carry out the hit.

During Panayiotou's bail application hearing, he admitted to having wiped the cellphones clean to "remove all sexual references" out of fear that his family might discover his affair with long-time mistress Chanelle Coutts.

#Panayiotou Stander is puzzled, "why then was Coutts' phone wiped?" Panayiotou admitted he was in "intermittent" sexual affair with Coutts.

However, according to the state, Panayiotou and his mistress's phones were wiped either on 25 or 26 April, a few days after Jayde's murder.

State prosecutor Marius Stander said, "It's clear, the accused and his mistress's phones were reset in such a way that data could not be retrieved."

Stander is adamant Panayiotou deliberately tampered with evidence by getting a factory reset of the mobiles.

He said Panayiotou got irritated when he was called by the alleged middleman and gave clear instructions not to call or SMS him.

#Panayiotou State: "wiping of phones was an extremely well calculated method to destroy evidence." SS

Panayiotou denied defeating the ends of justice and told the court he wiped the phones only to protect his privacy.

The state is said to have sought help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but no data could be retrieved from the phones.

#Panayiotou enters courtroom, avoids looking at public gallery where his and wife's family are seated. SS pic.twitter.com/h8q9qKeSog

ALLEGED MIDDLEMAN TURNS STATE WITNESS

The prosecution in the case against Panayiotou has confirmed the alleged middleman will turn state witness.

It's alleged Luthando Siyoli, a bouncer at a pub owned by Panayiotou, had already helped police trick the Port Elizabeth businessman into implicating himself before his arrest.

Prosecutor Marius Stander has confirmed the state has entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with Siyoli.

Panayiotou is alleged to have paid Siyoli R30,000 to find a hitman to kill his wife.

The alleged triggerman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, was allegedly paid R40,000.

Vumazonke and Panayiotou were arrested after police interrogated Siyoli.