Rob Packham
Cape Town - More high-profile murder cases are expected to be heard in the Western Cape High Court this week, including the Rob Packham murder trial, as well as 18-month-old baby Jeremiah Ruiters murder case.

Today, will mark the first day of Packham’s murder trial. This follows the rejection of his leave to appeal the cancellation of bail.

Packham is facing a charge of murder and defeating the ends of justice. He is accused of killing his wife, Gill Packham. Gill‘s charred body was found days after her disappearance on February 22, 2018, in the boot of a burnt BMW at the Diep River train station. She was identified through forensic DNA comparison.

Packham was released on R50 000 bail, but that amount was increased to R75000 following a breach of bail conditions, and subsequently revoked following another breach.

Simultaneously, the high court will also be handing down a sentence to Zimbabwean national Lloyd Simbarashe for the murder of domestic violence victim Nikita Lewis.

Simbarashe was convicted of Lewis’s murder last December. He had stabbed her 34 times. At the time, Lewis had sought refuge at the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg. She had been living there for just over a month when Simbarashe tracked her down and killed her on October 9, 2015.

Meanwhile, alleged serial rapist Mitchells Plain pastor Keith Bird is expected to finalise his plea and sentence agreement today. The case was postponed last week.

Judge President John Hlophe said he had received a draft of the plea agreement, but gave the two parties time to finalise it. Bird is facing two murder charges, four rape charges, theft and four crimen injuria charges.

The murder charge is linked to an incident in January 2013 where it is the State’s case that the pastor murdered his ex-fiancée, An-Niesa Bardien, 37, by strangling her and crushing her head with a rock. Bardien’s body was found at Strandfontein beach three months later.

In another case, Abigail Ruiters, mother of murdered 18-month-old Jeremiah, and her boyfriend, Ameerudien Peters, are due to in court today for trial. Ruiters is charged with abuse and neglect of Jeremiah and her two daughters, aged eight and three, while.

Peters also faces an additional charge of rape and murder. It’s the State’s case that Peters raped, beat and stabbed the toddler to death in 2017.

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Cape Argus