Constantia businessman Rob Packham sentenced to 22 years for killing wife

The Western Cape High Court on Wednesday sentenced Constantia businessman Rob Packham to an effective 22 years in jail for killing his wife Gill and trying to defeat the ends of justice by setting her car and body alight.

Packham, 58, clasped his hands and showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.

Judge Elize Steyn said Gill's murder was callous, brutal and shocking.

She must have suffered extreme shock and horror at realising what was happening. The degree of violence was also excessive and in the sanctity of her home, she said.

Instead of contacting an ambulance or the police in her dying moments, Packham covered up his crimes, Steyn said.

The judge said she was aware of the sentence's effect, not only on Packham, but on his and his late wife's loved ones.

"I do not agree that he is a man of advanced years. He is a fit, strong, middle-aged individual."

He had not shown remorse, she said: "Not once did he mention that he misses his wife or feels sympathy for his children."

Packham's sister Judith and one of his daughters Nicola watched as he was led away in handcuffs.

While his other daughter Kerry Meyer was absent, she had previously pleaded with the court not to "put him away forever".

Gill Packham disappeared while on her way to work in February 2018.

Packham told the court during his trial that he had looked for her all day and did not know what had happened, but the judge found he had used deceit and manipulation to cover his tracks.

'He simply removed his wife from his life'

In convicting him, Steyn said he had not acted in a manner expected of a distraught and later bereaved husband, and that when he was challenged about his conduct, he had responded in a manner incompatible with the situation.

During sentencing arguments, she pointed out that he had not played open cards with the court and that she was still left wondering how the crimes had impacted on him.

Packhams's defence lawyer, advocate Craig Webster, had argued for less than a 15-year jail term, on the basis that the crimes happened "on the spur of the moment" and were "spontaneous".

He also argued that his client, a man of "advanced years", was a useful and productive member of society, had no previous convictions, and had proved himself to be a caring father and husband.

State prosecutor Susan Galloway had argued for life in jail, on the basis of numerous aggravating factors.

She said Packham had not taken the court into his confidence about why he had committed the crime, the couple had been married for more than 30 years, he had attacked his petite wife with an object in her own home, and she had been killed by the one person she should have been able to trust.

"He simply removed his wife from his life with direct intent as she, in all probability, no longer fitted with what he wanted."