Tyre track expert says Rob Packham's car was possibly at wife's murder scene
By Zodidi Dano Mar 19, 2019
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Cape Town - Rob Packham’s white Audi was possibly at the scene where his wife’s BMW was set alight with her body in the boot.
Gill Packham, his wife, was discovered missing when she failed to pitch for work at Springfield Convent School on February 22 last year.
Her charred remains were found later that night in the boot of her burnt car at Diep River railway station.
On Monday, the Western Cape High Court heard evidence from the police’s tyre track analyst, Danie van der Westhuizen.
Van der Westhuizen told the court he received three different CDs with photos of tyre tracks and tyre treads.
He said the first CD contained photos taken by a Sergeant Lamula. The photos were the tracks on the scene where the car was burnt.
The second batch consisted of photos from another sergeant, Makhonyana, and the third was from a sergeant Van Schalkwyk.
Makhonyana’s photos were of tyre treads of Rob’s white Audi taken a day after Gill’s car was set alight, while Van Schalkwyk’s images, of the same vehicle, were taken on August 3.
“I compared the images with the tracks on scene. I could determine marks left on scene were not made by tyres on Van Schalkwyk’s photos. The pattern was totally different.
“I then compared Makhunyana’s and drew a conclusion that it was possibly made by (tyre tread) in photos he took. Only the pattern matched, but there was no unique markings found at scene,” said Van der Westhuizen.
He said if the pattern is there, then it’s possible that the car was there, but if there were more unique marks it would be more probable.
“There is a small hairline on the tread which indicates similarity in pattern, that’s all I could find,” said Van der Westhuizen.
Earlier, Rob’s sister, Judith Caroline Markwell, testified that she and Gill’s close friend, Lorraine Hobbs, went to pick Rob up at his house in Reisling Road Constantia when they heard about the fire.
She said that she and Rob drove in Lorraine Hobbs’s car to Diep River police station. Once there, they got a ride from another friend to the scene of the fire.
Markwell said she was in contact with her brother throughout the day since she heard the news of Gill’s disappearance that morning.
She said her brother updated her on his search and she had told him to come to her home in Tokai.
“He arrived at my house at around 7pm, we had supper and he spoke to his daughters on the phone. He left at around 9pm to head home, in case Gill went back home.
“Soon after Rob left, Lorraine arrived. We spoke a bit and a message came through from Nicola (Rob’s daughter) about something happening at Diep River,” she said.
Markwell said Packham was distressed, emotional and distraught.
Meanwhile, former relief commander at Wynberg Police Station Christiaan Labuschagne told the court when he spoke to Rob, at around 5.30pm that same day, the accused appeared relaxed.
Packham was at the Wynberg police station to file a missing person’s report and was assisted by Labuschagne.
He said Packham was seated on the opposite side of the counter seeming relaxed and busy on his phone.
“If my wife was missing, I wouldn’t be able to sit still and wait to be held,” said Labuschagne.
Due to jurisdiction, Labuschagne said he advised Packham to report the case at the Diep River police station.
Labuschagne said he gave him instructions of what he should tell police there as well as his details to give the officer at Diep River to help fast-track the investigation.