Constantia man gets high court date for wife-murder trial
Constantia businessman Rob Packham was sent to the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday to be tried for the murder of his wife‚ Gill.
Packham is also charged with obstruction of justice after the state alleged he put Gill’s body in the boot of her car and set it on fire at Diep River railway station in February.
Packham‚ a former manager of beverage production company Twizza‚ seemed stunned when magistrate Goolam Bawa read out the date of his trial‚ which is due to start on February 4.
He appeared to have frozen in the dock‚ staring ahead of him‚ as Bawa and his lawyer‚ Ben Matthewson‚ told him he could stand down.
According to the state‚ Packham murdered Gill on February 22. When she did not arrive for work at Springfield Convent‚ where she was a secretary‚ a search was launched.
Licence-plate recognition cameras showed him driving his wife’s BMW‚ and cellphone towers showed he spent the day of her disappearance driving around the Constantia area‚ the prosecution says.
During the late afternoon he was reportedly seen driving away from the burning BMW after he set it alight at Diep River railway station.
When firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames they found Gill's charred body in the boot but a postmortem report showed she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head before her body was burnt.
The case was postponed for a pre-trial hearing on October 26 at the high court. Packham’s R50,000 bail was extended and he may not attempt to contact any of the state’s witnesses.