Slain Port Elizabeth teacher Jayde Panayiotou’s husband is widely believed to be the second suspect arrested in connection with her murder, although this is yet to be officially confirmed. Cue comparisons with the Shrien Dewani case.
Just weeks ago, social media was abuzz as the search for the missing teacher went viral. A Facebook group disseminating information about Panayiotou’s murder claimed two men suspected of the murder had fled to George and began circulating pictures of the men online.
After a relentless search, her body was found on the outskirts of Uitenhage.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) on Thursday announced that two suspects had been arrested in connection with her murder. One of the men was named as Thando Siyoli (31), but the second suspect’s identity was withheld and will only be officially released after he appears in court on Monday.
— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) April 30, 2015
However it has been widely reported that the second suspect is Panayiotou’s husband, Christopher. Speaking to The Daily Vox, Eastern Cape SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Miranda Mills said she could neither confirm nor deny that the husband is a suspect. Many South Africans were floored by the news.
While some questioned whether there would another Dewani-style televised trial, others predicted that there would be less media coverage now that Panayiotou’s husband has been named as a suspect and the narrative of an innocent white woman preyed upon by black criminals had been broken.
Watch how the reporting on the story is going to get colder…just like the Stellebosch murders
— Miss Dini (@Simply_Dineo) April 30, 2015
A case of this nature is something South Africa is all too familiar with. In 2010, British national Shrien Dewani allegedly hired two men to murder his wife, Anni, in Cape Town. Initially Dewani was not a suspect, but he was later charged with murdering his wife. The case was thrown out of court, but Dewani could still face questions about his wife’s death in a public inquest set to take place in the UK.
South Africa seems to have developed an appetite for these types of family drama/domestic violence cases – as well as Shrien Dewani, think Oscar Pistorius and, more recently, the Van Breda family murders. There’s one more thing these cases have in common — the initial assumption that they were perpetrated by black men on a crime spree.