Prosecution alleges Rob Packham's extramarital affair led to wife's killing

17 April 2019 - 16:07
By Sumin Woo
Rob Packham during cross-examination in the Cape Town high court on April 16 2019.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux Rob Packham during cross-examination in the Cape Town high court on April 16 2019.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway's cross-examination of alleged wife-murderer Rob Packham ended as Packham took the stand for the third day on Wednesday.

Galloway painted for the court the state's understanding of how Packham's day transpired on February 22 2018, the day his wife of more than 30 years died.

"You hit your wife probably first on the jaw, which incapacitated her, with a second blow on the back of her head, which killed her," Galloway said.

A post-mortem report found that Gill Packham died of blunt-force trauma to her head.

"You having handled the murder weapon, that explains the blood on the inside of your car," Galloway continued.

Packham has maintained that blood found in his garage and the inside of his car were due to earlier cuts his wife sustained from taking out the recycling.

"You never reported your wife missing … and never asked for any help to look for her because you knew all along where she was, and where her car was," Galloway alleged. "You were driving around in that car in the vicinity of your home."

CCTV footage depicted a white male in Gill's green BMW near the Packhams' home in the afternoon, after Gill had already died, according to the state. Packham has stated that he had been driving in his own white Audi at that point in the day, searching for his wife.

"You went with the car to the Diep River railway station and locked it," Galloway said. "Around 9.30pm, you simply set the car alight, thinking that the fire would destroy any and all evidence."

The green BMW was found on fire at the Diep River railway station that evening, with Gill's body in the boot.

"You found yourself in a tight spot due to your long-running affair with [your mistress]," Galloway said, giving a possible motive for the crime.

When asked if he had a comment to the depiction of his involvement with the murder, Packham said: "I categorically deny what the prosecutor has just said."

Before summarising the state's case, Galloway focused primarily on identification of Packham throughout February 22.

Witness Paul Gray testified in March that he had seen a white male enter a green BMW, later identifying the man as Packham. The defence noted that Gray named Packham after photos of the accused had already circulated in the media.

"The person he saw get into the vehicle looked enough like you for him to make the identification," Galloway said.

Another witness testified earlier that he saw Packham drive away from the scene of the crime.

"We have a person looking enough like you, driving an Audi Q5, and that the number plate contained 'CA 7 2 4 [not in that order]'," Galloway said.

While Packham admitted that "CA 7 2 4" were parts of his licence-plate numbers, he chalked it up to coincidence: "I'm sure my white car is not the only white car in Cape Town."

Judge Elizabeth Steyn asked Packham about his messages, sent before and after his wife's death, to a work colleague concerning the lie that Packham was at an 8.30am meeting on February 22.

"Did you not think that would subvert the course of justice?" she asked Packham. "Is it a lie?"

"It was a lie for Gill," he said, one he claims he created in case she came to find him at work that morning.

Packham is accused of murdering his wife, putting her in the boot of her car and setting the car alight at Diep River railway station in February 2018.

The court adjourned until next Wednesday, when the prosecution and defence are due to give their closing arguments.