'Selfish' Rob Packham guilty of murdering his wife

20 May 2019 - 15:50 By SUMIN WOO
Rob Packham was found guilty of murder by the high court in Cape Town on Monday.
Rob Packham was found guilty of murder by the high court in Cape Town on Monday.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

More than a year after his arrest, Rob Packham has been found guilty of killing his wife.

The Cape Town High Court made the ruling on Monday. 

The Constantia businessman showed no visible reaction as judge Elizabeth Steyn found him guilty of both murder and obstructing the ends of justice.

His wife Gill's body was discovered in the boot of her burnt-out car at Diep River railway station on February 22 2018.

The state painted his extramarital affair of three years as the motive for the crime. Packham said he didn't know what happened to his wife, offering a random hijacking as an explanation.

A witness testified to seeing Packham in Gill’s BMW that afternoon, when he was allegedly looking for her in his own vehicle. CCTV footage placed a man driving the BMW near the area where the witness said he saw Packham.

"It is difficult to discern who is inside," said Steyn. "A sturdy person, most likely a male, with a light complexion … The video is not clear enough that the facial features of the driver are discernable."

Two more witnesses allegedly saw Packham in his car, a white Audi, driving away from Diep River station shortly before officials discovered the burnt-out BMW.

Gill's blood was found in their garage, which Packham said was from an earlier injury she sustained from taking out the recycling.

Steyn noted the circumstantial evidence presented during the trial. "One might describe it as a network of facts around the accused. It is not permissible to take the evidence piece by piece … Witness testimony must be considered in totality of the evidence," she said. 

Packham and his wife had been undergoing marriage counselling but he continued to contact his former mistress, even on the morning of Gill's death.

"He was living … a selfish, destructive, double life," said Steyn. "The totality of the evidence points overwhelmingly at the guilt of the accused."

Judge Elizabeth Steyn read out her judgment on May 20 2019, finding Rob Packham guilty of murdering his wife Gill and subsequently burning her body in the boot of her vehicle in February 2018.