Ex-mistress of 'wife-killer' Rob Packham tells judge of 'harassment'
A high court judge showed an alleged wife-killer tough love on Friday after he delivered flowers to his former mistress in breach of an order not to contact her.
Cape Town businessman Rob Packham‚ who is charged with murdering his wife‚ Gill‚ was slapped with extraordinarily stringent bail conditions after his former mistress – a state witness in the case – complained to police that he was harassing her.
Judge Nathan Erasmus held an inquiry at the high court in Cape Town into allegations that he breached his bail conditions. The 57-year-old was seen on CCTV at the woman’s workplace dropping off flowers and a card that read “love makes all things beautiful” on September 3.
The married woman had an affair with Packham. According to the state‚ she has minor children and Erasmus ordered the media not to name her.
In an affidavit‚ the woman said Packham left a parcel with the doorman at her workplace even though she had told him on several occasions‚ personally and through her lawyers and the prosecution‚ not to contact her. “I looked at the camera footage of the front door and can positively confirm that the person delivering the parcel was Rob Packham – I recognised his face‚ his posture and the shirt he was wearing‚” the affidavit said.
“He has on numerous occasions disregarded my attorney of record’s demands‚ and now even acted contrary to the prosecutor and the court’s warning not to have any direct or indirect contact with me.
“His contact with me is not desired and unwanted. I feel harassed and intimidated by it.” The woman said she received an SMS on the same evening from a Richard J Hopkins. It read: “My name is Richard. I am an old school friend of Rob. I have been staying with him for a few days. I leave tomorrow.
“He has told me a bit about you two. Today I dropped a gift at your work. He apparently can’t but he wants to.?? Sorry it’s a bit confusing. He said he will explain to me tonight. RH.” The following day she received an e-mail at work from Richard J Hopkins containing details of her relationship with Packham which she believed her ex-lover would not have shared with anyone.
“I believe Rob Packham is using ‘Richard J Hopkins’ as an alias to contact me‚ alternatively‚ I believe that Rob Packham asked this ‘man’ to contact me ‚ therein making indirect contact with me‚” the woman said in the affidavit.
“I felt threatened and intimidated by the content of the email‚ sent as if it was meant to be a silent and tacit warning.”
The state asked that Packham’s bail be revoked. But the Constantia man’s counsel‚ Piet Botha‚ disputed that the woman was intimidated by Packham’s overtures.
“[The woman] is not a timid wallflower‚” said Botha. “She chose to have an extramarital intimate affair with my client. It is clear that the accused is in love with her. If we have regard of who we are dealing with ... I will not put it on record [because] the idea is not to embarrass her‚ but she is a woman of the world.”
Botha said Packham had spent 10 days behind bars since his arrest for breaching his bail conditions‚ two of which he spent in Pollsmoor Prison‚ in Tokai.
Erasmus told Packham: “I have no sympathy for you. Anyone who breaches bail conditions‚ I have no sympathy.”
He then imposed stringent conditions which involve Packham handing over all his communication devices and paying an extra R25‚000 on top of the R50‚000 bail he has already paid.
Packham is allowed to go shopping for three hours once a week‚ attend church once each Sunday and visit his lawyer’s office. He was ordered to phone the investigating officer every time he leaves home and on his return‚ and has to report to the police daily between 8am and 9am.
The former manager of beverage company Twizza is accused of killing his wife‚ Gill‚ putting her body in the boot of her car and setting it alight at Diep River railway station in February.
According to the state‚ the father of two daughters was bust by licence-plate recognition cameras that showed him driving Gill’s BMW‚ while cellphone towers showed that he drove around Constantia on the day of her disappearance. He was reportedly seen driving away from the burning car during the late afternoon.
Gill’s body was found in the boot of her car after firefighters extinguished the flames. A post-mortem examination showed she was killed by a blow to the head.
The alarm was raised when she did not arrive for work at the Springfield Convent‚ a high school in Wynberg‚ where she was a secretary.