Man accused of killing wife says he was looking for her on day of murder

05 March 2018 - 16:41 By Aron Hyman
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A Constantia man accused of murdering his wife‚ Gill Packham‚ says he was driving around looking for his wife in places the couple used to frequent on the day she was murdered.

Rob Packham sobbed in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town on Monday where he was charged with murdering his wife of 30 years.

Gill’s body was found in the back of her burning green BMW sedan at 9.30pm on Thursday February 22. She was declared missing by a relative earlier that same day after she never arrived for work at Springfield Convent School where she worked as a secretary.

State prosecutor advocate Brynmor Benjamin told the court that Packham was the last person seen with Gill at about 7.34am on the day of the murder when he was supposed to be at work.

He is the general manager of the Twizza soft drink company.

He was also allegedly seen driving Gill’s car‚ but with its number plates removed‚ and “sped away from a state witness”. The car was also picked up by a traffic camera.

Benjamin said that he also tried to obstruct the administration of justice by calling a colleague to establish an alibi by inferring that he was at a meeting at work at 7.30am.

He claimed that Packham’s cellphone pinged various cellphone towers in various locations while he was supposed to be at work.

Packham’s defence advocate‚ Ben Mathewson told the court that this was because he went looking for his missing wife.

It is also alleged that on the evening of the murder‚ a vehicle similar to Packham’s vehicle was seen driving away from the Diep River railway station behind which Gill’s burning BMW was found by police who extinguished the fire and found her burnt body in the boot.

Gill Packham’s burnt body was found behind Diep River railway station, Cape Town, on February 22 2018.

They confirmed Gill’s identity by comparing DNA taken from her body with a sample taken from one of her daughters.

Almost the entire second row of the gallery was filled with family of the deceased‚ including the couple’s two daughters and Gill’s two sisters.

When Packham emerged from the gallery he looked straight at the second row and winked.

He started sobbing as Mathewson explained that his youngest daughter had just finished university and would be going through the trauma of losing her mother alone‚ in an attempt to have his client held at Diep River police station rather than in Pollsmoor Prison.

Mathewson said that he was also getting trauma counselling.