Rob Packham  File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Rob Packham File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Packham's ex-mistress mentioned for the first time in court

Time of article published Sep 28, 2018

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The trial of murder-accused Constantia businessman Rob Packham heard for the first time of his former mistress in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

This came to light after it was revealed who would testify in the matter involving the alleged violation of his bail conditions, News24 reported. Packham was arrested earlier this month over the violation of conditions relating to his R50 000 bail. 

This is the first time that an affair has been mentioned in court since Packham's arrest over his wife's murder earlier this year. The 57-year-old Cape Town soft drinks company manager has pleaded not guilty.

Reference to the affair was made while prosecutor Susan Galloway was arguing that Packham had allegedly violated his bail conditions by contacting several State witnesses. The woman was one of the State witnesses Packham wasn't allowed to contact, but he acknowledged dropping off flowers and a love letter at her work.

Galloway told Judge Nathan Erasmus she wished to call two witnesses in her application – the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Ivan Sonnenberg, and a woman. She asked for the woman's identity not to be made public because she had two minor children.

Judge Erasmus asked defence counsel Pieter Botha how he felt about this. Botha had no objection and said it was "common cause that she had an extramarital affair with my client".

The judge ruled that the woman's identity not be revealed until he had had a chance to listen to her evidence and decide further. She was eventually not called.

In an affidavit‚ the woman said Packham left a parcel with the doorman at her work even though she had told him on several occasions‚ personally and through her lawyers and the prosecution‚ not to contact her, TimesLive reported.

"I looked at the camera footage of the front door and can positively confirm that the person delivering the parcel was Rob Packham – I recognised his face‚ his posture and the shirt he was wearing‚” the affidavit said.

"He has on numerous occasions disregarded my attorney of record’s demands‚ and now even acted contrary to the prosecutor and the court’s warning not to have any direct or indirect contact with me.

"His contact with me is not desired and unwanted. I feel harassed and intimidated by it.” 

The woman said she received an SMS on the same evening from a Richard J Hopkins. It read: “My name is Richard. I am an old school friend of Rob. I have been staying with him for a few days. I leave tomorrow.

“He has told me a bit about you two. Today I dropped a gift at your work. He apparently can’t but he wants to.?? Sorry it’s a bit confusing. He said he will explain to me tonight. RH.” 

The following day she received an e-mail at work from Richard J Hopkins containing details of her relationship with Packham, which she believed her ex-lover would not have shared with anyone.

“I believe Rob Packham is using ‘Richard J Hopkins’ as an alias to contact me‚ alternatively‚ I believe that Rob Packham asked this ‘man’ to contact me‚ therein making indirect contact with me‚” the woman said in the affidavit.

“I felt threatened and intimidated by the content of the email‚ sent as if it was meant to be a silent and tacit warning.”

Packham, who used to work for Twizza, was charged with the murder of his wife, schoolteacher Gill Packham, earlier this year. He was out on bail and was under house arrest. 

His wife disappeared on February 22 and her body was found in the boot of a burnt-out BMW near Diep River train station.

According to the indictment, he allegedly used a blunt object to hit Gill on the head and, with the alleged intent to obstruct the course of justice, set alight a BMW while her body was inside the vehicle.

He allegedly also gave the police false information.

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