Panagakos: The dubious history of a heavily-tattooed, musclebound criminal being questioned over the mysterious shooting death of Ivona Jovanovic

by on 13 September 2019

Police are questioning a heavily-tattooed man over the shooting of Ivona Jovanovic, 27, at the Gold Coast at 8.30pm on Sunday night.

Ms Jovanovic was getting ready for a night out when she was shot at the chest in a house at Highland Park belonging to the mother of Christos Panagakos. It is believed that Panagakos, Ivona’s ex-boyfriend, and a number of other people fled from the home after the incident occurred, however Mr Panagakos was not believed to have been involved in the shooting.

Mr Panagakos’ mother is believed to have called emergency services.

Ms Jovanovic was transported to Gold Coast hospital, however she passed away despite efforts to keep her alive.

Mr Panagakos, who has a criminal history according to The Gold Coast Bulletin, was arrested at 1am on Monday morning and is being kept on a return-to-prison warrant. He has previously had a number of convictions, including trying to smuggle drugs into jail in his rectum, dangerous conduct with a weapon, trafficking drugs, supplying drugs, trespass, possession of a shortened firearm, obstruction of police, failure to dispose of a syringe correctly and being a public nuisance.

It is alleged that he has ties to the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang.

The Gold Coast Bulletin revealed that a raid to his house uncovered two ecstasy tablets, anabolic steroids, 101 Viagra tablets, $16,650 in cash and a list of alleged drug debts. The police also allege that they found 28 grams of ice in his car.  At the time of the searches, Mr Panagakos had been out of jail for a month after serving a sentence for dangerous driving.

In 2018, he fronted court in connection to a drug dealing enterprise and phone taps by detectives led to him pleading guilty to three charges of trafficking dangerous drugs between March and April 2015.

Judge James Henry made note that Panagakos had an eight-page criminal history that was ‘apalling’ and sentenced him to three and a half years jail with no parole for 10 months.

At the present time, there is no suggestion that he is involved in Ms Jovanovic’s death and has not been charged for this.

Being searched after his sentencing, ice and valium dropped from his rectum, and appeared in the same court in December 2018 to answer for the ‘extremely stupid’ attempt to smuggle drugs into prison. The court heard that he had also tried the same at Ipswich police station with a bag of various drugs.

In court, Mr Panagakos pleaded guilty to the drug possession charges for the 2018 Ipswich incident and two for the 2018 smuggling attempt. His defence solicitor argued that anxiety about going to prison had motivated him to do this.

Mr Panagakos read out a letter on video to the court in which he said he had reflected on his actions while behind bars.

“What is apparent is that I use drugs to self medicate during stressful situations that I have difficulty coping with.” he said.

“I now realise this has been cowardly on my behalf and I’m simply running away from problems rather than dealing with them in a mature manner.”

Sister’s outrage

Ms Jovanovic’s younger sister was distraught when she spoke to 9News, stating that it was “disgraceful” that people had fled the scene, according to police.

She said the situation made her “so mad”.