Constantia man gets trial date for wife's alleged murder

A Cape Town cooldrink company manager accused of murdering his wife is expected to go on trial next year after the Wynberg Magistrate's Court transferred the case to the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Rob Packham, who worked for Twizza, kept a low profile while waiting for his court appearance on a charge of murder following the death of his wife Gill Packham in February.

He is also charged with defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.

Wearing a blue jacket and black chinos, Packham listened as Magistrate Goolam Bawa set October 26 as the date for his pre-trial conference in the High Court.

The date of February 4 was proposed for his trial.

Packham's wife disappeared on February 22 and her body was found in the boot of a burnt-out BMW near Diep River train station. He was later arrested.

Prosecutor Brynmor Benjamin said a copy of the indictment had been given to Packham, who is out on R50 000 bail and under house arrest at his home in Constantia.

Marital problems

The Zimbabwe-born businessman, who previously worked for women's cosmetics company Estée Lauder, has also had to hand in his Audi Q5 for the investigation.

According to the indictment, he allegedly hit Gill on the head with a blunt object and, with the alleged intent to obstruct the course of justice, set alight a BMW with her body in it.

He allegedly also gave the police false information to mislead them.

According to the indictment, in the months leading to Gill's death the couple had been having marital problems.

When she did not arrive for work on February 22, her colleagues contacted him and he told them he was looking for her.

The indictment states that Gill's vehicle was observed in traffic being driven by a man identified as Packham.

Later that afternoon her vehicle was found near the station but it had been set alight.

A man had been seen driving away from the scene. After the car fire was extinguished, Gill's body was found in the boot.

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