Sizwezakhe Vumazonke: The Jayde Panayiotou murder suspect believed to have been poisoned in prison
The highly anticipated trial of the Jayde Panayiotou murder suspects starts on Tuesday in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
The state faces a tough task as it sets out to prove how the hit on Jayde was ordered by her husband Christopher Panayiotou through Luthando Siyoni‚ while the defence will attack the credibility of the state’s evidence.
Sizwezakhe “Sizwe” Vumazonke was alleged to have been on of her adbuctors.
Who was Sizwezakhe “Sizwe” Vumazonke:
• Vumazonke‚ 31‚ of KwaNobuhle near Uitenhage‚ died in Livingstone Hospital on September 7. An inquest has been opened following suspicions that he was poisoned to stop him from coming clean.
• At the time of Jayde’s death‚ Vumazonke was on bail following an armed robbery at Dale’s Liquor store in Mount Pleasant in December 2013.
• Vumazonke was convicted in 2011 of theft and possession of a stolen firearm and ammunition‚ and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on parole in October 2013‚ after serving just two and a half years.
The case so far:
• He was the first alleged hitman to be arrested in connection with Jayde’s death.
• He abandoned his bail application and remained in prison until his death last month.
• Vumazonke‚ who was supported in court by his sisters‚ had hired former deputy director of public prosecutions in the Eastern Cape and prosecutor Marius Stander’s former boss‚ advocate Hannelie Bakker‚ to represent him.
• He claimed police assaulted him when they arrested him and appeared in court with a bruised‚ swollen eye.
What the prosecution alleges:
• On the morning of April 21 last year‚ Vumazonke travelled from his residence to Kwazakhele‚ where he fetched Sinethemba Nemembe.
• On arrival at the Panayiotou home‚ they shoved Jayde into the boot of the car.
• The men drove her to an open field in KwaNobuhle‚ where they shot her three times.
• They then went to an ATM‚ where they attempted to withdraw money from Jayde’s account.
The evidence against him:
• Facebook messages and other communication between Vumazonke and Siyoni.
• The Toyota Etios believed to have been used in the execution of the kidnapping was allegedly rented in Vumazonke’s name.
• Cellphone plotting allegedly places Vumazonke at the scene of the kidnapping and later‚ Jayde’s murder.
• Billing information links him to his co-accused.
The defence’s version:
Without his testimony‚ the defence and the state will now have to fight it out as to whether or not Vumazonke’s police statement can be admitted as evidence. The defence will likely argue that it is hearsay evidence. – TMG Digital
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