Court Increases Bail for Murder-accused Constantia Man after Violating Conditions

Constantia businessman Rob Packham will have to fork out R25 000 extra to pay his bail, hand over all his electronic devices and abide by other conditions, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Friday.

This was after the State approached Judge Nathan Erasmus with evidence that he had contacted state witnesses, including a woman with whom he had been having an extramarital affair.

Packham was initially granted R50 000 bail with conditions, after being arrested for allegedly killing his wife Gill Packham earlier this year.

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 to mislead them during the investigation.

Erasmus said on Friday that bail was now set at a total of R75 000.

“It is common cause that you have breached bail conditions. There is an absolute bar on communication, direct or indirect, with certain witnesses who are listed,” the judge said while delivering his verdict.

In considering what to do with the 57-year-old Cape Town soft drinks company manager, Erasmus said: “I have no sympathy for you”.

“If you do anything and I caution you, you will lose your bail money and you will be kept in custody until the end of your trial.”

Earlier on Friday, it emerged that Packham had made contact with his mistress and several colleagues at his workplace Twizza.

The court heard he was caught on video handing over flowers and a card to a doorman at his mistress’ workplace on September 3.

The card contained a French quote which translated to: “Love makes all things beautiful.”

The investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Ivan Sonnenberg, also revealed that the mistress had received an email and cellphone message from someone who had a different name, whom she believed might be Packham.

Sonnenberg said the mistress’ attorney contacted him to inform him that she was being harassed at work and being contacted on her cellphone.

She apparently also made a statement in which she said his contact was not desired and she felt “harassed and intimidated by him”.

Pieter Botha, for Packham, explained that his client’s contact with his colleagues was over an intended disciplinary hearing to terminate his job.

He then gave an affidavit with his version of why he shouldn’t be fired.

Botha added that no communication to any of the witnesses was threatening or intimidating.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway argued that Packham should be kept in custody as it would be easier to monitor his communication.

Packham, dressed in a navy cardigan and khaki pants, was seen laughing at this comment.

Erasmus said the accused could do exactly the same actions in prison except for delivering flowers in person.

He ordered Packham to remain under house arrest except to visit a shopping centre in Wynberg once a week for three hours, visit a medical practitioner in Wynberg for emergencies, visit his psychologist in Rondebosch once a week, travel to his lawyers to prepare his case, and attend church service every Sunday.

He had to inform his investigating officer from his landline whenever he left home and returned, as well as report to the Diep River police station every day.

Packham had to hand over all his electronic devices to his lawyer. In addition, police can search his property at any time for similar devices.

The case was postponed to October 26 for his pre-trial conference in the High Court.


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