Accused wife killer Rob Packham Picture: Courtney Africa / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn has labelled accused wife killer Rob Packham a “good actor” who should have taken a more “proactive stance” when he arrived at the scene where his wife Gill was thought to be in the boot of a burning vehicle.

Yesterday, Packham’s defence presented their closing heads of argument.

Judge Steyn said Packham had been “deceitful” as a result of his extramarital affair, and she wanted the defence to discuss Packham’s “deceit” and credibility.

Defence attorney Craig Webster said people who were in extramarital affairs had a deceitful nature, and “it goes with the territory”.

He said he was unsure how far that would take the State’s case, to prove Packham had murdered his wife and obstructed the course of justice.

The judge added that Packham had shown “apparent disinterest” when he arrived at the scene at Diep River station where a car was found burning just hours after Gill had gone missing.

The burning car had matched the description of Gill’s car, a green BMW, and was found before 9pm.

Judge Steyn said Packham had arrived at the scene with six other people but had not gone close to where the car was found alight.

Webster said it was Packham’s evidence that they were not allowed to go closer to the vehicle. “When they arrived at the scene, police prevented them from going any closer. They were told to go to the police station,” Webster said.

Judge Steyn said if had been possible that her own spouse was in a burning vehicle, she would have “made more effort to go closer”.

Webster said it was “highly improbable” that Packham would return to the scene shortly after allegedly being seen driving off by State witness Keanon Thomas. It was Thomas’s evidence that he had seen a “coloured male aged between 30 and 35” driving away from where a burning car was found in the Diep River station parking lot.

“The State had led no evidence of when the death occurred, except that it could have happened between 7am and 8pm on February 22,” Webster said.

“The manner in which the investigation was conducted was targeted at the accused from the outset and the State built their case around that.”

The judge said while receiving trauma counselling at the police station, Packham had become “annoyed”. “At that stage he should have been more frantic.

“I would not have left if it were my wife. That is one aspect that I do not understand,” Judge Steyn said.