House arrest for Constantia man accused of wife's murder

2018-03-09 17:24
Loved ones of Robin Packham, accused of his wife Gill’s murder, leave the Wynberg Magistrates Court on Monday. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Loved ones of Robin Packham, accused of his wife Gill’s murder, leave the Wynberg Magistrates Court on Monday. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Rob Packham, the man accused of murdering his wife Gill, will be under house arrest at his home in upmarket Constantia, after being released on R50 000 bail in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Friday.

"Bail is then granted as per the draft order in the amount of R50 000, with the [conditions]," Magistrate Goolam Bawa said.

However, the Zimbabwean-born and Michaelhouse-educated widower, will be allowed to go to work at his R80 000-a-month job at cooldrink manufacturer Twizza, attend his wife's funeral, and consult his lawyer.

He intended pleading not guilty, his lawyer Ben Mathewson said, adding that Packham was grief-stricken by the death of his wife of 30 years.

READ: Constantia man weeps during first appearance for wife's murder

In an affidavit read to Bawa, Mathewson said Packham would continue to cooperate with the police as they continued with their investigation, which included an identity parade, cellphone analysis, and getting the final forensic report on Gill's death.

Mathewson said that Packham, who was wearing a blue and white outfit with a red jersey over his shoulders as he stood in the dock, had moved to South Africa with his family when he was seven years old.

He had been a permanent resident ever since.

He attended the elite private school Michaelhouse in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal and matriculated in 1977.

To make himself more marketable, he studied for a Bachelor in Accounting Science at the University of South Africa in 1985 and, after graduation, went on to become a chartered accountant and a member of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants.

He moved up the corporate ladder at Investec and at a steel merchant in Johannesburg.

He was headhunted by luxury beauty brand Estee Lauder and became a financial director there. After further study in marketing and management, he became a brand marketing manager for the men's cologne Aramis, within Estee Lauder, until the company relocated to London.

'I have the full support of my family'

He moved on to become a general manager at Twizza in Bellville, where he currently earned R80 000 a month after deductions.

He and his wife had lived at their home in Constantia, which was worth R4.5m, and was bonded for R2m.

His wife also owned two properties, and he had two vehicles - an Audi, and VW Polo Vivo.

ALSO READ: Blood found in home and car of victim's husband

They have two daughters, 27-year-old Kerry who works in Oxford in the United Kingdom and is engaged to be married, and 25-year-old Nicola, who is finding her feet in Johannesburg after completing her studies at Stellenbosch University last year.

Both were in court to support their father.

"I have the full support of my family during this terrible time," said Packham, via Mathewson, in his affidavit.

His wife, also 57, worked as an administrator at the Springfield Convent School in Wynberg, and was reported missing on February 22.

She was last seen leaving their home in Constantia for work, and a frantic search was started after she had apparently disappeared. This included the assistance of the Pink Ladies, who circulated her picture in the hopes of a sighting and her safe return.

However, hopes faded when Gill's BMW was found on fire at the Diep River train station later the same day that she disappeared.

The fire was extinguished and her body was found in the boot.

Packham first appeared in court on Monday, and was remanded to Pollsmoor Prison until Friday.

Death was 'not natural'

He faced charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice, for allegedly destroying evidence relating to his wife's death.

Mathewson said Packham had a thyroid condition which, required chronic medication, and that keeping him in the "filthy" conditions of Pollsmoor Prison would aggravate his condition.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway, who also worked on the Henri van Breda murder case, said the State did not oppose bail after conditions were agreed to with Packham.

She said she could not reveal Gill's cause of death yet because she had not received the official forensic pathology report, but could say the cause of her death was "not natural".

In granting bail, Bawa said that Packham's bail conditions included handing over his passport, which he had done, not leaving the Western Cape without the written permission of the investigating officer, not being within 1km of an international port of entry or exit, and reporting to the Diep River police station every Monday and Friday.

He must also not have contact with State witnesses listed on his bail conditions. The witnesses may not be named yet.

Pictures of his face may not be published by the media because an identity parade must still be held. If pictures of him were used by the media, his face had to be blurred to obscure his identity.

His house arrest would end on March 30, but the other bail conditions would remain in place.

The case was postponed to May 8.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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