Cape Town – An appeal by convicted wife killer Rob Packham’s daughters for him to be given a lesser sentence proved fruitless when he was sentenced to 22 years' direct imprisonment yesterday.
In a scathing sentencing, Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn said Packham, 58, had showed no remorse or empathy during his trial, even though his eldest daughter had pleaded with the court to “not put him away forever”.
Packham received a 20-year prison sentence for murder and four years for defeating the ends of justice, of which two were suspended.
Despite being described as a “good, caring father” by daughters Kelly and Nicola, Judge Steyn said these were “attributes not exhibited when he killed their mother”, Gill.
Judge Steyn said Packham had “steadfastly refrained from being honest with the court”, and although there was no motive for the murder, she believed it was rooted in “frustration and anger”.
“He was disloyal and deceitful to a wife that stood by him during difficult financial times. (His actions were) self-indulgent and hypocritical,” said Judge Steyn.
While sitting in the dock, staring Judge Steyn said Packham was “disdainful, disinterested”, and his “attitude was cowardly and deceitful throughout”.
“He was dismissive and lacking in empathy.”
Packham was convicted of Gill’s murder on May 20.
Gill was reported missing after not arriving at her job as secretary at Springfield Convent on February 22 last year.
State prosecutor Susan Galloway had argued that Packham inflicted multiple blunt force injuries to her head, including fracturing the strongest bone in her head, and thereafter burned her in the boot of her BMW in an attempt to get rid of evidence.
Judge Steyn said Gill was attacked in the “sanctity and security of her own home by her husband who had a duty to protect her”.
She said Packham left her to die, instead of seeking medical help.
“The femicide rate is five times higher in South Africa than the global average. Domestic violence is a scourge (and is not acceptable),” said Judge Steyn.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “We believe it is a balanced sentence between the crimes committed and the rights of the victim of the crime. We believe justice has been done.
“The family of Gill - her two sisters - said they were happy with the sentence as well.”