Man Accused of Plotting Wife's Murder Stole Eulogy

Chris Panayioutou, alleged hitmen arrested in South Africa
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2015 10:23 AM CDT
Man Accused of Plotting Wife's Murder Stole Eulogy
Christopher Panayiotou appears at a court to face a murder charge in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Monday, May 4, 2015.   (AP Photo/Judy de Vega)

Plagiarizing a eulogy is one thing. Plagiarizing a eulogy at the funeral of the wife you're suspected of plotting to kill is plainly quite another. Schoolteacher Jayde Panayiotou, 28, was kidnapped outside her home in Uitenhage, South Africa, on April 21 as she waited for a ride to work and was found shot to death on the outskirts of town a day later, Jezebel reports. A suspect, Thando Siyoli, 31, was arrested shortly after and revealed to be a bouncer at a bar owned by the victim's husband, Chris Panayiotou. Siyoli told police Panayiotou paid him to kill Jayde and undercover officers attended her funeral dressed as mourners. There, they heard a seemingly moving eulogy, in which Panayiotou described his wife as "a master baker who was so good, she could have made Mahatma Gandhi break a fast."

It turns out the words had been carefully crafted by a man who had lost his wife—but that man wasn't Chris Panayiotou. A quick Google search revealed entire sections of the eulogy were plucked from one Charles Atkins wrote about his late wife in 2010, then published online. His lawyers say an "obviously distraught" Panayiotou—whom Times Live reports had been spotted being "very affectionate" with another woman—used elements of the eulogy because he isn't good with words, not because of any alleged connection to his wife's murder, News24 reports. Panayiotou was arrested after police say they witnessed him hand over more cash to Siyoli as payment for Jayde's murder during a sting operation; a third suspect believed to have pulled the trigger is also now in custody, Times Live reports. (More murder stories.)

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