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Why work colleague 'agreed to lie for stressed Packham'

Murder-accused Rob Packham allegedly asked a work colleague to lie about his whereabouts on the day his wife disappeared. Picture: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus

Murder-accused Rob Packham allegedly asked a work colleague to lie about his whereabouts on the day his wife disappeared. Picture: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus

Published Mar 13, 2019


Cape Town – Rob Packham, who is on trial for the killing of his wife Gill, allegedly asked a colleague to lie on his behalf if “anybody called to ask where he is” the morning she went missing.

It emerged in the Western Cape High Court when logistics manager at Twizza’s Bellville South branch, Lodewyk Janse van Rensburg, testified yesterday.

He said he had not seen Packham at their offices on the day Gill went missing, but when he received a call from Packham at 12.23pm on February 22 last year, he was requested to lie about Packham’s whereabouts.

“I arrived at work just after 8am. I then did my prep work for a meeting to be held in Soneike at 10am. I left the office at about 9.30am. I did not see Packham at work that morning.

“When I got back to the office after my meeting, I received a call from Packham at 12.23pm and he asked if I was with other people, then asked me to step away from them to a private area.”

He said Packham then told him he was driving around looking for Gill as she wasn’t seen since 7am.

“He said Nicola (Packham’s daughter) and Gill had a fight with him (the previous night). He then said he was going to hospitals and police stations to try and find her. 

"He then told me if anybody calls, (I was) to say that we had been at the production plant for a meeting at 8.30am. I agreed,” he said.

Van Rensburg said he agreed to the request as Packham, his manager, sounded stressed and was looking for his wife. He added that he was aware at the time that Packham was experiencing marital problems.

Nicola testified against her father on Monday, telling the court Packham admitted during a marriage counselling session to having had feelings for his mistress of “several years”.

She said he denied any such feelings to his wife initially. This made Gill “upset”, Nicola said.

Another colleague of Packham, fleet manager at Twizza Bellville Cornelius Vermaak, and investigating police officer Aubrey Muller also took the stand yesterday.

Previously, the police forensic unit said they found evidence in the driver’s side door of the vehicle Gill’s body was found in, and blood in the en suite bathroom of the couple’s main bedroom.

Muller said on the day Gill went missing, by 6pm there was no missing person case registered.

He said he was alerted to the case by the Pink Ladies Missing Persons Organisation, which picked up the information on social media.

The case continues today.

Meanwhile, convicted wife murderer Jason Rohde’s lawyers yesterday filed papers for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

The former property mogul was recently sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe found him guilty of murder and defeating the ends of justice.

His legal representative Tony Mostert said they filed the papers for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The 70-page document argues, among others, that the court erred in its findings, and Rohde should have been acquitted.

Susan was found dead on July 24, 2016, while she and Rohde attended a gala dinner at Spier in Stellenbosch.

Also staying at the hotel was Jolene Alterskye, Rohde’s mistress, which Rohde said caused a lot of tension.

He said he and Susan fought both physically and verbally in the lead-up to the morning she was found with an electric cord around her neck.

The State argued that Rohde lied to the police about what really happened, as the post-mortem found the cause of death to be consistent with asphyxia and manual strangulation.

Cape Times

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