Don't put him away forever - Rob Packham's daughter pleads with judge

2019-05-22 13:59
Rob Packham in court on Tuesday after being found guilty. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Rob Packham in court on Tuesday after being found guilty. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Convicted wife killer Rob Packham is a kind, caring and loving father who should be given the opportunity to build relationships with his grandchildren one day, his daughter told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Kerry Meyer, 28, a primary school teacher in the UK, waxed lyrical about the type of man her dad was during her evidence-in-chief

She said they were very close.

Her testimony was not broadcast via video or audio link after she made a request, through Packham's defence team, on the basis of her occupation and the process being "intimidating".

Meyer recalled training with her dad for many cycle races and half-marathons.

"He was always somebody I could go to for advice, for working life, studying, he was always there to listen and to help wherever he could."

Packham taught her and younger sister Nicola, 26, how to catch and throw a ball. He also helped her improve her technique and skill in hockey.

"He was always the breadwinner. He worked really, really hard to provide for us all and give us the best possible life," she told defence advocate Craig Webster.

"He took care of all three of us."

This week, Packham was convicted of killing his school administrator wife Gill in February 2018 and attempting to defeat the administration of justice by setting her car and body alight.

Never violent

When Webster asked Meyer if her dad was violent, she shook her head and said he had never shown any violence or aggression towards the three of them. He didn't like conflict and always tried to make peace.

She believed her mom would have told her if there was violence because they also had a close, honest and open relationship. Her mom had also discussed Packham's affair with her. 

When she moved to the United Kingdom, they still spoke over the phone every day.

Before news of the affair broke, she felt her parent had a "very normal, happy marriage".

"Like any relationship, they had their ups and downs and moments where they were frustrated with one another but it was still a loving and warm relationship," she said.

The disclosure of the affair "obviously had a huge impact" and caused her mother a lot of hurt and anger.

Don't put him away forever

She was, however, willing to attend marriage counselling because she knew it would help.

The court heard that Packham was a wonderful, kind, loving and caring man who was always willing to help others and had been a mentor to Meyer's husband.

"He was always there for us and showed that he cared," she said.

Addressing Judge Elize Steyn, she said she did not want to take away from the difficult task that the judge had ahead of sentencing and knew that she had a job to do.

"... if there is a possibility that he could have an impact on my own and my sister's children, that is something that would be very important to us. And I just ask that if you could not put him away forever."

During cross-examination, prosecutor Susan Galloway asked whether all her happy childhood memories included her mother.

Meyer said they did.

"Obviously there were different dynamics between all of us but we were a close family."

'Hole in my life'

Galloway pointed out that Gill had also been a breadwinner with short-term rentals of two flats she owned, and bringing in a salary from Springfield Convent.

She also said Packham was deceiving the family and chose a different life to the perfect one he had.

Meyer said she couldn't answer for her father's actions.

She was sad that neither of her parents were at her wedding in December 2018.

Packham had been unable to attend because he violated his bail conditions and was taken into custody.

"Obviously I was really sad about that too. Yes, it's a very difficult situation and I know many people don't understand but he is still my father," said Meyer.

Steyn asked what her mother was like as a person.

She replied that Gill was a wonderful, loving, fun and friendly woman who had the biggest heart.

Devastated by the loss, she saw a trauma counsellor every week.

Teary-eyed, she said: "Her death has left a very big hole in my life but it has left a very big hole in everybody's life, including in my father's."

Steyn said she was aware it must be difficult testifying in support of one person and was grateful for attendance. She wished her the best for the future, acknowledging that it would not be easy.

Sentencing arguments are expected to be heard on June 10.

Packham is expected to be sentenced on June 12.

Read more on:    rob packham  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime

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