“Choose me or choose your wife,” is the ultimatum Rob Packham’s mistress is alleged to have given him over coffee at The Watershed on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on February 21, 2018.
“We discussed whether he was coming to a decision with regards to his marriage,” the smartly-dressed human resources manager and divorced mother of two told a packed court earlier this week.
“He said he loved his life but he didn’t love his wife,” she added, while Packham watched, his face showing not a trace of the obsession that drove him to stalk the 43-year-old witness last year until it cost him his bail and the chance to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle.
“But I can’t say if he was in a position to make a decision about his marriage,” said Packham’s Tableview lover for nearly three years, who cannot be named according to a court order.
That same day in Claremont, Packham revealed during a marriage counselling session with his wife of 30 years that he did have feelings for the witness, backtracking on earlier admissions to Gill he did not love the woman he met at a BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) club in October 2015.
Later that night, the unhappily married couple fought bitterly, the court heard. By the following day Gill Packham, who would have turned 57 years old on Thursday, was dead in the boot of her green BMW which was filmed on CCTV cruising the streets of Diep River without number plates.
It was driven by a white man who was definitely not Packham, argued his defence advocate Craig Webster.
Just how this man is connected to the driver spotted later that evening driving away from Gill’s blazing car at Diep River railway station is a mystery.
One thing for sure is he is male. According to witness Kenan Thomas who lives close by, he had a light complexion, possibly coloured, about 30 to 35 years old.
The defence continued about the age discrepancy with its 58-year-old client even though the witness later picked out Packham’s picture in a photo ID parade. A process the defence summed up as “irregular, artificial, contrived and unfair”.
But it didn’t cross-examine Thomas on his other crucial observation that the man was driving a white SUV and its CA number plate contained the digits 7, 2 and 4.
That day, Packham was driving around ostensibly searching for Gill in his white Audi Q5, CA 245 719.
Just as they didn’t go near the other revelation this week that the police had no access to Packham’s iPhone. The first password he supplied was false and he has not been able to remember it. The defence also played down Packham’s marital troubles in its cross of state witness Nicola Packham, 26, who is close to her dad.
The essence is Rob and Gill were rebuilding their shattered marriage, so much so they were to renew their wedding vows. None of this is new.
Packham had a similar spiel during his September bail hearing when he revealed: “I never wanted to break up the marriage and never stopped loving her (Gill), despite the affair.
“Notwithstanding her hurt and anger she said she wanted to stay together and repair our marriage and work through this. This was my wish too so we committed to each other to make it work.”