Cape Town – Rob Packham was in disbelief as Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn
found him guilty of the murder of his
wife Gill and defeating the ends of justice on Monday.
In her judgment, Steyn said Packham had “direct intent” to kill his 57-year-old wife on February 22 last year.
Gill was reported missing after not arriving at her secretary job at Springfield Convent School that day, described as out of character for her.
It has emerged that Packham burned his wife in the boot of her green BMW after inflicting multiple blunt force injuries to her head.
Judge Steyn paced through her
judgment yesterday as family, friends, supporters and media awaited her findings.
Occasionally shaking his head as Judge Steyn spoke, Packham listened to the summarised version of her judgment, in which she described him as having “fabricated” his version of events of that day in an attempt to cover his tracks.
She labelled Packham’s version of events as “improbable and unlikely” and said his inconsistent testimony “does nothing to enhance the credibility and reliability of (Packham)”.
Judge Steyn said that although Packham continuously referred to driving around in search of a vehicle as a surprise birthday gift for Gill on the morning of her disappearance, this was never recorded in his initial testimony when questioned by police.
“His version was carefully constructed to put him in a better position,” said Judge Steyn.
During Packham’s cross-examination by State prosecutor Susan Galloway, Judge Steyn said Packham had become “more and more confrontational and anxious” and put this down to him “being unable to justify his conduct”.
Judge Steyn said Packham did not act in the manner of a distraught husband and “displayed unbelievable lack of concern” even when he was shown details of his wife’s gruesome injuries by authorities.
“He deceived his wife and family. He had finally removed his wife (and thought he could continue his affair),” said Judge Steyn.
Packham will appear in court again this morning where discussions
will commence for sentencing proceedings.
In a Facebook post by Helen and Sue Humphrey - sisters of Gill - they say justice has finally been served for their sibling.
“For the past 15 months we have been dealing with the brutal murder of our sister Gillian Packham (née Humphrey) and the subsequent revelations of the tragic and painful circumstances she was subjected to in the years and months leading up her murder by Rob Packham,” the post read.
The grieving sisters said they “became aware of some of these details in the last few months of her life, (and) the conspiracy of silence surrounding Gill meant that we have only learnt the full extent of what was taking place in the Packham family through this trial”.
“(Yesterday’s) outcome by Judge Steyn allows us to acknowledge that justice has occurred for our sister. The fact that justice has been done does not take away the fact that girls lost their mother and we lost a beautiful sister,” said the Humphrey sisters.
Packham’s daughters, Nicola and Kerry-Ann, were both in court yesterday. Nicola regularly attended court proceedings while Kerry-Ann, who lives abroad, was present on a number of occasions during the two-month trial.
Throughout the trial, Packham maintained his innocence after he pled not guilty, suggesting that his wife was attacked in a car hijacking.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the authority was “elated” with the outcome.
“It was what we worked for all this time. We had difficulty with circumstantial evidence but we are convinced that there was no other person who was responsible for the murder of Gill. We are happy with the court’s decision,” said Ntabazalila.