CAPE TOWN – Sentencing procedures of convicted murderer Rob Packham was on Tuesday postponed in the Western Cape High Court to give him time to consult with his defence.
The Constantia businessman was convicted of murdering his wife Gill and defeating the ends of justice on Monday.
Judge Elize Steyn described him as an "accomplished liar" who had led a double life and whose version of events was clearly fabricated before finding him guilty.
His wife, with whom he had been having marital problems because of his infidelities, disappeared on February 22, last year. She did not arrive for work at the usual time of 7.30am and her body was later found in the boot of her burnt-out BMW near the Diep River train station.
Steyn rejected Packham’s version that she could have been the victim of a random hijacking and instead found that Packham was "a crafty deceiver", agreeing with the State that his conduct was "incomprehensible" and had been indicative of guilt.
During the trial, Packham told the court that he tried to report his wife missing at the Wynberg police station but was told he needed to go to the Diep River police station where he would be given a reference number.
"Even though the Wynberg police officer said you must go to Diep River SAPS [SA Police Service] to sign the forms and get reference forms for a missing person case, you never went," senior State prosecutor Susan Galloway said to him during cross-examination.
Packham conceded saying: "I never did. I had intended to do it on my way to my sister’s but for some reason I forgot."
He said he had not asked the investigating officer about the progress of the investigation because "we were seeing him every day or two".
During cross-examination he said he sent his former lover a message at around 8.30am on the morning of his wife’s disappearance, telling her he had overslept. But Galloway pointed out that according to his version, at that time he was driving to car dealerships to find a new car for his wife.
"I was in the habit of sending her (former mistress) a message at the start of the day," Packham told the court. But that morning he had not, so he had "clumsily" sent her that one.
Galloway pointed out that he had not said he had gone to car dealerships in his statement but had "tried to create the impression" that he had gone to work at the Twizza cooldrink plant.
Packham said he could not explain why his visit to car dealerships was missing in his statement, but conceded that he had read and signed it.
Two days after his wife’s disappearance, he allegedly sent his former mistress, Witness X, (she cannot be identified by order of the court), an email saying the madness would soon be over and then they could be together.
Packham told the court he did not remember sending that message but did not dispute sending it.
On Monday, Steyn said that Packham had misled his family and his wife about terminating his relationship with his mistress and that his version had been dishonest and unreliable. Furthermore, there had been many instances where he was found to have lied or changed his version.
"The accused did not act in the manner of a distraught and later bereaved husband."
Sentencing proceedings will start on Wednesday.
African News Agency (ANA)