2021 brought us the final chapter in Jayde Panayiotou's murder
The last remaining suspect that the State wanted behind bars for the school teacher’s abduction and murder was handed a life sentence only in November.
CAPE TOWN - After more than six years, 2021 is the year that finally saw all those implicated in the murder of Gqeberha school teacher Jayde Panayiotou sentenced to jail time.
The last remaining suspect that the State wanted behind bars for Panayiotou’s abduction and murder was handed a life sentence only in November.
Luthando Siyoni, who was the middleman in the murder case, now joins Panayiotou’s husband and two others in prison for her death.
Panayiotou’s disappearance from her Kabega Park home in April 2015 led to a frantic search that resulted in tragedy.
Her body was found on the outskirts of Uitenhage, now known as Kariega. She’d been shot dead.
Panayiotou’s death left her neighbours worried about their own safety as it was unclear who could’ve targeted the much loved school teacher.
But a police sting operation soon revealed the truth.
And her husband Christopher Panayiotou was arrested - much to the shock of the community.
A lengthy trial revealed he’d paid one of his bouncers, Siyoni, to find a hitman to kill her and two years later, he was sentenced to life behind bars.
Two other men were also punished for their involvement in the crime while another died before proceedings were finalised.
But proceedings didn’t go smoothly for Siyoni, even though he had turned State witness, he refused to answer any questions while on the stand.
His deal with the State fell through, and he was declared a hostile witness.
This led to him being charged for Panayiotou’s death and conspiracy to commit murder.
After he was charged, Siyoni went on the run and was only tracked down six months later in 2018.
His case was finalised in November and sentenced to life in prison.
Meanwhile in August last year, Christopher's application to the Constitutional Court to have his life-behind-bars sentence overturned was unsuccessful.