Court hears that murder-accused Constantia man had a mistress

2018-09-28 14:53
Murder-accused Rob Packham in the Western Cape High Court. (Christina Pitt, News24)

Murder-accused Rob Packham in the Western Cape High Court. (Christina Pitt, News24)

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A woman said to be the mistress of murder-accused Constantia businessman Rob Packham was brought up in the Western Cape High Court on Friday after it was revealed who would testify in the matter involving his alleged violation of bail conditions.

This is the first time that an affair has been mentioned in court since Packham's arrest over his wife's murder earlier this year.

The 57-year-old Cape Town soft drinks company manager has pleaded not guilty.

Reference to the affair was made while prosecutor Susan Galloway was arguing that Packham had allegedly violated his bail conditions by contacting State witnesses.

Galloway told Judge Nathan Erasmus that she wished to call two witnesses in her application – the investigating officer detective Sergeant Ivan Sonnenberg, and a woman.

She asked that the woman's identity not be made public because she had two minor children.

Arrest warrant

Erasmus asked Pieter Botha, for Packham, how he felt about this.

Botha had no objection and said it was "common cause that she had an extramarital affair with my client".

Erasmus ruled that the woman's identity not be revealed until he had had a chance to listen to her evidence and decide further. She was eventually not called.

The court heard he was caught on video handing over flowers and a card to a doorman at his mistress' workplace on September 3.

The card contained a French quote which translated to: "Love makes all things beautiful."

Sonnenberg also revealed that the mistress received an email and cellphone message from a 'Richard J Hopkins', who claimed to be a friend of the accused but who she believed might be Packham.

Sonnenberg said the mistress' attorney contacted him to inform him that she was being harassed at work and being contacted on her cellphone.

In her statement, she revealed that the contact had a "terrible emotional and psychological impact" on her. 

"His contact with me is not desired and unwanted. I feel harassed and intimidated by it," she stated.

In the email, Hopkins said Packham said to him that his mistress was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

"His life with Gill was over. He knew it but it took ages for him to admit it," the email stated.

He said Packham knew that she was aware divorce papers had been drafted, and was more adamant than ever to have a future with her.

Hopkins said he had "off the grid burner mobiles" (phones which can't be traced) if needed while they were apart. 

Packham was arrested earlier this month over the violation of conditions relating to his R50 000 bail.

Botha argued on Friday that the arrest warrant was unlawful because it was granted in Packham's absence.

He said the State should have approached the Magistrate's Court, as the High Court would only have jurisdiction after Packham makes his first High Court appearance on October 26.

But Erasmus later ruled the authorisation of the warrant was lawful.

Obstruction of justice accusations

Packham, who worked for Twizza, was charged with the murder of his wife Gill Packham earlier this year. He was out on bail and was under house arrest.

His wife disappeared on February 22, and her body was found in the boot of a burnt-out BMW near Diep River train station.

According to the indictment, he allegedly used a blunt object to hit Gill on the head and, with the alleged intent to obstruct the course of justice, set alight a BMW while her body was inside the vehicle.

He allegedly also gave the police false information to mislead them.

The Zimbabwe-born businessman, who previously worked for women's cosmetics company Estée Lauder, has also had to hand in his Audi Q5 for the investigation.

Read more on:    rob packham  |  cape town  |  crime

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