Emotions were running high when the sister of murdered Port Elizabeth teacher Jayde Panayiotou read out a heart-wrenching letter telling Christopher Panayiotou that her family would never ever forgive him. Panayiotou was convicted earlier this month of murdering his wife.
“I want you to know that my mom, dad and I will never forgive you,” an emotional Toni Inggs told the court on Friday morning. “The cowards sitting in this row here today will never be forgiven.”
Inggs was called as the state’s only witness in aggravation of sentence in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Friday.
An emotionally charged Inggs said she had decided a year ago to request to address Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, who were convicted earlier this month for her sister’s murder.
Jayde was kidnapped outside her home while waiting for a lift to work and murdered on the outskirts of Kwanobhule in April 2015. The contract killing was arranged at the behest of her husband.
“So I stand here today with a broken heart, a damaged life and immense anger, you have all won,” she said. “In fact, you won this selfish game the day you all agreed to murder Jayde. As usual, Chrissy [Christopher Panayiotou] gets exactly what he wanted.”
Inggs demanded that Panayiotou look at her while she address him, which he refused by continuing to keep his head dropped, with his face flushed red.
“To stand here and say that I hate the three of you would truly be an understatement of how I feel about you and what you have done to my family.”
Inggs described how the loss of Jayde made her world spin out of control in that she no longer trusted anyone and was constantly on the lookout wondering if someone was being sent to kill her next.
She said she felt a whirlwind of emotions on a daily basis which encompassed guilt, anger, disgust, hate, sadness and betrayal.
She dug into Panayiotou’s character, saying that Jayde deserved much more than the material things he gave out.
“She begged for your love and attention and this is how you repaid her.
“I have watched my mom and dad fall apart over and over and over again because of you and all I can do is stand back and watch, I have never felt more helpless in my life.”
Inggs said she didn’t wish death upon the three men because she did not believe they deserved the peacefulness that death brought.
She was, however, firm in stating that she did not believe the three of them should be allowed to walk free again.
Inggs slammed members from Panayiotou’s defence team, saying that from day one her family were treated like the enemy.
She said that the defence had contributed to the family’s emotional suffering.
“We did not ask for this, we did not ask to be here and we certainly did not deserve this treatment. No victim’s family deserves this treatment.”
In addressing Inggs, defence Advocate Terry Price said he felt sorry for the Inggs family, adding that Jayde’s death was a horrible thing.
Price said: “I feel sorry for your family. You have my empathy.”
Someone in the public gallery called out the word “bullshit”, to Price’s annoyance, who took it up with Judge Dayalin Chetty.
Justice for Jayde supporters clapped on a few occasions, cheering Inggs on as she concluded her letter.
– African News Agency (ANA)