Toni Inggs said she was aware of unhappiness in Jayde’s marriage to Christopher Panayiotou and had spoken to her about it.
Jayde told her she was incredibly lonely because she and Panayiotou lived separate lives.
She would wake up in the morning to get ready for work and he would still be asleep. He would only come home after she went to sleep, Inggs said to questions from prosecutor Marius Stander.
“Sadly, I defended Chris for the most part. I kept reassuring her that he was working hard and working late for them.”
Stander asked if she was aware of Panayiotou’s affair with his store manager at the OK Grocer in Algoa Park, Chanelle Coutts.
“No, not at all. I did question a few things,” she said, explaining that she wondered why he had forbidden Jayde from touching his cellphone.
Panayiotou, in a suit, did not look at Lnggs.
‘I don’t know how much more I can take’
Stander read from Jayde’s notebook, which was found in her dressing table.
“Every time I rip open my ribcage to release the butterflies, people are too busy swatting them away. I needed a hero so, I became one. All I have ever wanted is to be loved fully and completely,” he read out.
“I don’t know if I can live this life. I don’t know how much more I can take. Why does he hide so much from me and why is it so impossible to communicate with him? I write these words ’cause I no longer have space inside. I may just explode.”
Lnggs said Jayde was happy at work and with her family. When Stander asked what her relationship was with her brother-in-law, she broke down in tears. The court had to adjourn briefly so she could compose herself.
Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde, 29, on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty.
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.
‘I want him put away for life’
During cross-examination, Panayiotou’s lawyer Terry Price countered her statements with the picture of a loving, thoughtful marriage.
He said Jayde was not the author of the poem and had taken it off the internet.
Price denied that Jayde was not allowed to access his phone or that it was grabbed from her.
Inggs said Jayde would spend most weekends with her family on their farm, as her husband worked over weekends. Price said the couple bought a house together in Lovemore Park, Port Elizabeth.
He said Inggs had told the court that she loved Panayiotou as her own brother up to April 25 last year.
He questioned whether she had started a Facebook page called Justice for Jayde, called Panayiotou and his family bastards, and said he should be put away for life.
“Yes, my Lord. I want him put away for life. I want justice for my sister. I am angry.”
‘They have treated us as the enemy’
Price asked why Panayiotou’s parents had been drawn into the matter.
“This is a family that has been part of my life for the past 11 years. From the day that he was arrested, they have treated us as the enemy,” she said.
Price referred the court to a number of “loving” photos of the couple on Instagram. He said Inggs had only chosen to show the negative side of the relationship.
Under re-examination, Stander confirmed with Inggs that the photos were from Jayde’s account, not her husband’s.
“Looking at these likes. Is it right to say that Christopher Panayiotou has not [officially] liked one of these photos?” he asked her.
“Yes, that is correct.”
She was allowed to leave the stand.
The trial continues.