Murder accused Rob Packham was cross-examined on Tuesday, on a call he made to a colleague requesting that he lie about being with him in a meeting. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Murder accused Rob Packham was cross-examined on Tuesday, on a call he made to a colleague requesting that he lie about being with him in a meeting at work the morning of his wife's disappearance.

Packham spent his second day in the witness box. Compared to the previous day, he appeared a bit agitated, cutting off the prosecutor, advocate Susan Galloway, as she questioned him in cross-examination.

Galloway repeatedly asked Packham to pay attention and not to look down at the exhibit files before him or at his family seated in the gallery.

Judge Elizabeth Steyn intervened, suggesting that Packham’s daughter and sister should try not to look at him as it may be “part of the problem”.

On the day of the disappearance of Packham’s wife, Gill Packham, hours before her body was found in the boot of her burnt BMW vehicle at the Diep River railway station in February last year, Packham had called Lodewyk van Rensburg asking him to lie for him.

Van Rensburg in his testimony said Packham requested that if anyone called, he should say they were together in a meeting at 8.30am. He said three days later, Packham sent a message reminding him of the request.

Packham said that after an intense search for Gill, he figured she might have decided to pay him a surprise visit at his workplace. Galloway asked why he made the follow-up message days after Gill was found.

“The radio and social media were talking about me asking a colleague to be my alibi. The car was found, but the reports were sensational, inflammatory and I was frustrated and upset.

I was more concerned about what was being reported in the media and whether Van Rensburg embellished my request or misinterpreted it.

“The story was being twisted and manipulated by the media,” he said.

“You asked him to perpetuate a lie,” said Galloway. “Just after 9.30pm you sent a message saying you were not a suspect but were under scrutiny, and 11 minutes later you sent Van Rensburg a message asking him to perpetuate a lie about where you were that morning.” 

Packham’s cross-examination will continue today.

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Cape Argus