‘I crave raw primal sex’: Murder accused Packham’s e-mail to a friend

Rob Packham's bail was revoked in the Cape Town high court on Wednesday December 19. He is standing trial for the murder of his wife, Gill.
Rob Packham's bail was revoked in the Cape Town high court on Wednesday December 19. He is standing trial for the murder of his wife, Gill.
Image: Gallo Images

The inquiry into murder accused businessman Rob Packham’s breach of his bail conditions lifted the lid on his odd behaviour, which included pestering a friend for sex.

The revelation of his request for "raw primal sex" came when the Constantia, Cape Town, man sought to discredit a mutual friend of his and his former mistress.

The friend went to the police to report Packham’s illegal attempts to contact his former lover, who is a state witness.

Through his lawyer, Ben Mathewson, Packham said the friend is a member of a swingers' club.

According to the prosecution, the woman received two e-mails on October 14, purportedly from Packham, expressing his desire to have sex with her.

"Don’t shut me out and block me like all my so-called friends, please … I am deprived. I crave intimacy, raw primal sex … Keen? Relax, this is not about [the former mistress]. I am in a dark hole, you know this," the first e-mail said.

The second one read: "Hi. Can we just see each other – no agenda, no pressure … I just want to connect. I won’t pester you for info re [former mistress], I understand that is a ‘no go zone’.”

Packham is accused of killing his wife, Gill, and defeating the ends of justice. He allegedly put her body in the boot of her car and set it alight at Diep Rivier railway station in February.

On Thursday, the high court in Cape Town revoked his bail after finding he had breached its conditions for the second time since his arrest in March.

He violated the conditions by trying to contact his former mistress through the mutual friend, even though he is not allowed access to communication devices.  

In September, Judge Nathan Erasmus placed Packham under virtual house arrest and ordered him to hand over all his communication devices. This was after he was caught on camera delivering flowers to his former mistress’s workplace.

The woman also received e-mails from a person purporting to be Richard J Hopkins, who urged her to mend her relationship with Packham and gave intimate details of their affair. The woman complained to the police and Hopkins was unmasked as Packham.

On December 5, the former mistress told the police that she had received a letter posted to her work address signed RJH-W.

The letter said: "Do keep an open mind. Don’t judge. I do not for a second doubt him [Packham]. Have you stopped to consider that he is an innocent target of cynical police work? Or have you bought into the spin, the press’s presumption of guilt via unfounded speculation?

"He deserves better. You know this. He is the genuine and kind person he always was."

This week, Packham told the court he had adhered to his bail conditions. He said he had received threatening letters from unknown people, and had also been sent a photograph of himself with "666" etched on his forehead.

He said police had searched his home after the mutual friend's complaint, but they had not found devices that he could have used to contact her. 

A newspaper article about his court case had arrived in his letterbox with the message: "Dearest Richard. Your last free Xmas and New Year for 25 years. Hon Judge … who nailed Jason Rohde is going to NAIL you too ... ”

Rohde is in the midst of sentencing proceedings after being convicted of murdering his wife, Susan.

Another letter read: "I hear Ben Mathewson won’t take your case, as he doesn’t like losing and wants to keep his unbeaten record intact. Adv Pieter Botha is the most expensive guy in town and if you don’t believe me ask Henri van Breda as he represented him, for callously killing his parents and brother. Something like was the case with Gill … But, as I was taught at school, actions have consequences."

On Thursday, Judge Elizabeth Baartman dismissed Packham’s claim that the messages to his friend could have been sent by her "social group", the swingers club.

She found that Packham was the author of the e-mails and that he had contravened his bail conditions. She revoked his bail and returned the R75,000 a friend provided to fund it.

Packham’s trial begins in March. He will miss his daughter’s wedding on Saturday, which he had told the court he was looking forward to.

"I have considered the effect his actions may have on [his former mistress] and other witnesses," said Baartman. "It is not in the interests of justice to allow an accused to abuse his bail conditions with no consequences. I will heed the call not to declare the money forfeit as it was paid by a third party."

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