Gill disappeared on February 22 last year. Her body was discovered that same night in the boot of her burnt BMW at the Diep River train station. Picture: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus
Cape Town - The State has closed its case in the Rob Packham murder trial following a testimony by a cellphone analyst that placed the accused in the vicinity of Diep River hours before his wife Gill Packham’s body was discovered.

Gill disappeared on February 22 last year. Her body was discovered that same night in the boot of her burnt BMW at the Diep River train station.

On Monday, police cellphone analyst Reese Harvey said that Rob’s phone had been placed in the Diep River vicinity at 2.37pm. He said that based on evidence already before the court from a licence plate recognition expert, Rob’s car was parked at Diep River train station at the time.

Harvey said he had analysed data from both Rob’s phones as well as Gill’s phone.

On the eve of Gill’s disappearance, her phone was switched off from 9.04pm and was only activated again on the morning of her disappearance at 7.09am when she received a 28-second call. It was not activated again thereafter.

Her husband’s phone, on the other hand, was activated at 7.52am on February22, only to be activated again at 9.53am.

Harvey said that during the two hours that the phone was off, Rob received numerous calls that were marked as call forwarding by Vodacom.

At 9.54am he received an sms.

From 11am to 2pm his phone connected with cellphone towers in the Wynberg, Constantia and Steenberg areas.

At 5.29pm the cellphone was linked to a cell tower in the Wynberg police station region.

Defence advocate Craig Webster put it to Harvey that at times signals from cellphone towers overlapped in close proximity.

He said a signal could be picked up from more than one tower depending on its strength and a number of other factors.

“Just because a phone is seen to be communicating with different towers it doesn’t necessarily mean a phone is in the location of that particular tower,” said Webster.

Today the defence will call two police officers as witnesses to testify on the formality of affidavits, and Rob will take the stand in the next court term.

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Cape Argus