Teacher Kerry Packham, 28, is due to get married next weekend at a venue that is a tightly guarded family secret. Because her father was under house arrest and strict bail conditions curtailed his movement, he had to apply for a temporary bail amendment which the High Court granted on November 1.
But indications are that Packham, 58, will not be in the wedding party following his arrest this week for allegedly contacting a State witness in his upcoming trial. This is because he was warned during his September hearing into his first breach of his bail conditions that he would forfeit his freedom and R75 000 bail if he attempted to contact a State witness again.
“If you do anything, and I caution you,” said Judge Nathan Erasmus, “you will lose your bail money and be kept in custody until the end of your trial.”
This week’s arrest is not the first time Packham’s legal situation has cast a pall over his daughter’s wedding.
Kerry was to have married to her long-time fiancé, business analyst Ciaran Meyer, in April next year at White Water Farm in Stanford. But after Packham was charged with her mother’s murder in February, Kerry brought her plans forward to December to make sure her father could walk her down the aisle before the start of his March trial.
The second wedding disruption came a few months ago while looking for a new venue. In memory of her mother, Kerry chose Kirstenbosch Gardens. Unfortunately, the booking fell through.
“It was Gill’s favourite place,” said a friend. “She was a passionate gardener and absolutely loved Kirstenbosch. She went there a lot and the last photographs of her with her younger sister were taken at Kirstenbosch.”
“Kerry getting married was all Gill wanted. She was so happy when she finally made the decision to tie the knot and set a date. She was so looking forward to planning the wedding, having grandchildren.”
“My heart goes out to her. All Kerry wanted was her father next to her on her wedding day. And that her guests put aside their feeling about him for a few hours. Now it looks like he has stuffed that up by getting arrested again. That’s what he does, stuff things up.”
Sources who asked not to be named, confirmed Packham’s arrest this week came after he again tried to contact his ex-mistress, a human resources manager and divorced Table View mother of two who, according to a High Court order, may not be identified.
She broke up with Packham after he allegedly murdered Gill in February and warned him through her lawyer that she wanted no further contact with him.
The former mistress featured prominently in Packham’s last bail hearing in September following his arrest for contacting several State witnesses.
Astonishing evidence that unfolded revealed Packham used an untraceable cellphone and an alias to lure her back into a relationship.
The court also heard the alias sent the ex-mistress a text message saying he had dropped off flowers at her work on behalf of Packham. But CCTV footage supplied to cops by the fearful ex revealed it was Packham who had delivered the flowers.
In a four-page email handed in as evidence, Packham’s alias bizarrely attempts to shame and guilt trip the ex into feeling sorry for him.
“His life is a s**t pot And still you walked out on him!? F**k. Did you honestly have to do this to someone you supposedly cared for?
“It sounds like you two really had something amazing together that you thrilled him in more ways than he believed possible.
“He also mentioned life-altering sex, no details!, but wow.”
The email repeatedly makes a case for how the ex abandoned Packham in his hour of need and urges her to “grow some lady balls” to reconnect with him.
Repeatedly the alias claims Packham is a fine, upstanding guy who wants her back under the police radar.
In her statement to police, the mistress said Packham’s harassment had a “terrible emotional and psychological impact” on her. “His contact with me is not desired and unwanted. I feel harassed and intimidated by it.”
The State’s indictment alleges Packham murdered Gill, 57, in their Constantia home by hitting her with a blunt object and then attempted to defeat the ends of justice by tampering with the crime scene and setting her abandoned BMW alight with her body in the boot.
His High Court bail hearing which will determine if he spends Christmas in Pollsmoor is set down for Wednesday.