South Africa - Gill Packham, 57, murdered, Cape Town, 22 February, 2018 *arrest*

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by JudgeJudi, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    CW says Packham's phone was taken while he was still at his house. IS disputes this and says he took cellphone from Packham at the police station, after taking a witness statement.

    CW: I understand from the accused there was a short, bald police officer who took his phone from him outside the garage before you even got to the police station. IS says this there was a short, bald officer but no phone was taken.

    IS: The accused handed his phone to me at the police station. I sealed it. CW: You seized it? IS: No, I sealed it. We just wanted to exclude him as a suspect at the time and access his Google maps timeline.

    CW asks if police had a legal right to take the accused's phone at that stage. IS: "I can seize an exhibit. We asked him and he handed it. We didn't take it by force from him."

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  2. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence says police did not allow Packham to travel in his own vehicle to station on Feb 23, 2018.
    IS: "Correct. I can't recall the reason why."
    CW says its unusual for someone who is only a witness, and not a suspect.

    CW: "From the outset you were hostile to the accused and treating him as an accused at that stage even though you had no evidence at all implicating him in the offence".
    IS denies this and says they treated Packham fairly.

    CW says there were 6 police officers that day and the road was taped off.
    IS says he thinks that is correct.
    CW asks why 6 officers.
    IS: "We didn't know what we were going to find at the house when we got there."

    IS says he found it strange that Packham had not wanted to come to the scene that night after finding out about his wife's body in the boot. Despite this, he didn't go to Packham's house next morning thinking of him as a suspect.

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  3. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    CW says that Packham offered to sit for a polygraph test when he was at the station the next morning. You said it is not necessary.
    IS says he can't remember everything that happened.

    CW talks about IS's statement that The Vines, Constantia, is a low-crime area. CW: I understand that is not the position. Are you aware of BKM Watch? They put out crime bulletins. Almost daily there is reference to house breaking.

    CW says the Packhams also registered two car break-ins in their area. Do you accept that? IS says he only works with case numbers.

    Defence refers to a close-up still of a BMW from CCTV footage taken at a nearby home in Riesling Road. CW asks IS to take a pen and mark where he sees a white shirt.

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  4. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    CW: It looks in this image like this person is wearing a white balaclava over their heads. IS: In the video footage, it looks like a white baseball cap.
    Judge says it is very difficult to see what it is in the still image.

    IS accepts that the still is not very clear and suggests that they play the video footage so everyone can see the white baseball cap and white male that he sees.

    Defence says that two cellphone towers may have overlapping areas and coverage of one tower does not have an exact boundary.
    IS says he is not a cellphone mapping expert and can't dispute that.

    Defence points out that at time of arrest, police had a witness statement describing the driver as a "coloured male, light complexion, 30-35 years".
    IS: When I interviewed him again, he said it is possibly a very light complexion male or a white male.

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  5. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    And you had another witness who said he couldn't give a description of the person. When you went to Packham's home, had you applied for a warrant?
    IS says that senior control prosecutor at Wynberg said they didn't it with evidence they had.

    IS: We knew the deceased's identity and had cellphone records of areas where the accused was, which was not the same as where he said he was in his statement. We also had video footage from BKM Watch which matched what he looked like.

    IS: On that footage it shows a broad-shouldered male person and to me, at that time, it looked like the accused from behind.

    CW said that when police arrived to arrest Packham, the accused had his friends there for support.
    IS says there wine bottles, food platters and people holding wine glasses... "I don't know what that was".

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  6. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    We move to Packham at the police station, being given a standard form acknowledging his rights.
    IS says his attorney was there in charge office but attorney shakes his head in court.
    CW: He was told just to sign it. IS says he wouldn't do that.

    CW: His daughters spoke to you almost daily and passed info on to their dad.
    IS says not sure about daily but they were at police station almost the whole week. He can't dispute that Packham was well informed about investigation.

    Defence wants to know what IS did to update Packham about the investigation.
    He replies that there was a lot of work to do in that time and he informed daughters. "I had his phone so I didn't know what other phone to contact him on".

    Now on Packham's Audi Q5.
    CW: "At no stage was there any reluctance to make that vehicle available to you or further photographs to be taken".
    IS says there was a lot of correspondence to continuously try get the vehicle.

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  7. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    CW refers to email from defence attorney to state prosecutor on 6 July 2018. It states that no one had contacted Packham about Audi Q5. Also, that he was unemployed and no longer able to pay installments and the car would be sold.

    IS: Eventually they brought the vehicle to us in August. CW says that his evidence-in-chief was misleading and they were cooperative. IS: It was only later on that they said we could have the car.

    CW: You said that Packham did not explain his or his wife's blood at their home. Did you ask? IS: We interviewed him the day after we found the blood but there was no explanation. I didn't interview him personally but sure we would have asked.

    Court adjourns for lunch.

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  8. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    We are back after lunch.
    CW goes through investigation diary and says that by 7 May 2018, cellphone data was still outstanding.
    IS says they had data by then and says diary was unclear about specifics.

    Two days later in investigation diary, a fellow detective asked about the progressive of cellphone download. IS replies that they never had pin of Packham's iPhone and he thinks entry was referring to that.

    We move to police searching the garage now and finding a broken axe.
    CW: These were found among garden tools?
    IS: No my lady, I found it underneath linen. Defence asks if photos were taken and CW says not sure. Lack of DNA meant it was excluded as weapon.

    Defence disputes that the axe was hidden and says it was simply one of many items in the garage.
    IS says no other items were found in the linen and that's why he found it strange.

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  9. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence turns to Packham's disciplinary at work. On April 30, 2018, his attorney sent an email to Twizza about the planned disciplinary on May 4, 2018.

    CW: Twizza responded the same day to say that they would reschedule the disciplinary hearing to May 10, 2018, in light of his bail conditions.

    CW says a live ID parade is always best.
    IS says either line-up or photo is acceptable: "There should be 8 people who have similar characteristics as the accused in the line-up." He couldn't find 8 people who looked similar so he had to use system photos.

    Earlier, IS had told the court Packham had tall, broad shoulders at the time and it was difficult to find similar people in his age group for live ID parade. He says now he went to neighbouring police stations to look for similar suspects.

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  10. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    IS did not write down his visits to other police stations for similar suspects in his occurrence book. He says he was trying to get ready for court date.

    As an aside, IS said earlier that Packham's appearance has changed a lot since his arrest. "His face is not round. The accused is now very slim, skinny... There is a big change."

    CW says it's an irregularity for two witnesses to be in contact with each other before an ID parade.
    IS maintains the witnesses never discussed the case in his car or in waiting room at station.

    CW says Packham's face was spread widely in print and digital media.
    IS says he didn't have time to look at either, let alone see his family, during this time, because he was so busy with the investigation.

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  11. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence refers to newspaper front page in March with Packham's face on the front. A court later made an order barring the publishing of his image. "Despite that, images continued to appear of the accused," CW says.

    CW says a couple was renting a flatlet attached to Packham's Constantia home. They were there on Feb 21 and 22. If there had been a commotion or anything untoward, they would have seen or heard it.
    IS says they said they didn't hear or see anything.

    CW: There was nothing helpful incriminating the accused, that's why you didn't take their statements.
    IS repeats that the elderly couple had not seen or heard anything.

    CW says there was building activity across the road on Feb 21&22, with builders and bakkies nearby.
    IS says he didn't see anything like that on Feb 23.
    CW's understanding is that the building went on for some time.

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  12. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    CW: I put it to you that you didn't follow up on important evidence by checking out where a suspicious person came from that witness saw.

    CW asks if police looked for clothing in Constantia home, including a light blue golf shirt.
    IS says they searched for many things, found no clothes with any blood stains.

    CW says that one witness had referred to a light blue golf shirt in a photo image.
    IS says they didn't search for that or for a peak cap (as seen in video footage).

    Investigating officer tells defence that while driving witnesses to photo ID parade, they didn't say they had seen suspect in newspapers. He didn't interview other suspects but said they explored all avenues.

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  13. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence asks if ex-mistress was a suspect at any stage.
    IS says they only found out about her later on. "After we interviewed her, we didn't find she was a suspect".

    CW: Did you check the movements of the ex-mistress on Feb 21 and her cellphone records?
    IS confirms he did. "Her cellphone showed me she wasn't in that area that day or the two days".

    CW: A witness says he saw a coloured male driving away from the crime scene. IS says he asked witness later and he replied a person of very light complexion, either "coloured or a white male".

    CW: "Isn't the reality that he [the witness] was describing a coloured male and Mr Packham was a white male?"
    IS replies no, because Packham wasn't a suspect at the time he interviewed witness.

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  14. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence calls the photo ID parade "artificial and contrived".
    IS says he has no control over the parade and only provides the suspect's photo number to the person who compiles other photos alongside.

    CW: I put it to you that you have not been involved in a fair and even-handed investigation. It has been targeted and bias against the accused.

    IS responds: I did the investigation to the best of my ability. I have no reason to target anybody in this case. I never wanted to maliciously arrest Mr Packham for this case. I did everything I needed to do.

    CW continues that he will also submit to the court that there was never a proper basis for Packham's arrest, never mind an arrest warrant.
    IS says this is not true.

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  15. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Defence asks what police would have done if they didn't have Packham's photo for ID parade. IS replies there would have been no parade.

    CW: This ID parade focuses on the Packham's photo, otherwise you have to rely on the account of the witnesses.
    IS says they would have had to rely on that account. But a photo ID parade is only ever done with the accused's photo.

    State objects. She says there is a difference between what witness said in statement, testified in court and told the investigating officer.
    Defence says it is referring to statement.
    Judge notes that witness clarified 'race' aspect.

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  16. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    Susan Galloway gets up for brief re-examination. She asks if IS was ever informed that the motor vehicles had been changed in any way (perhaps referring to different tyre tracks on Audi). He says no.

    Judge asks when police first became suspicious of Packham.
    IS said when he had asked colleagues for an alibi, after they identified the deceased and a few other things. They found out about ex-mistress through daughter Nicola.

    Witness is excused. The trial is postponed until Monday.
    Packham remains in custody.

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  17. lilmac

    lilmac Member

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    Two of the most distressing aspects of this case are for me that Gill was only 5ft and the fact that the daughters know of the affair. Imagine a tiny 5ft lady what chance did she have? As to the manipulation of the daughters by the accused it is despicable and heartbreakingly sad. As a mother I would be destroyed if I found out my daughter knew something like this and kept it from me. As in the Rohde case we see we share out world with master manipulators do not care for anyone but themselves.
     
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  18. Interested Bystander

    Interested Bystander Well-Known Member

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    I have just been catching up with the excellent coverage from JJ et al. Thank you to all involved with keeping us up to date.

    I am feeling a little uneasy about possible police "discrepancies" creeping in. SA seem to go sometimes go awry with their evidence. I hope that isn't the case here.

    Fingers crossed the Prosecution will have tied everything up and RP won't get off on a technicality. That would be just dreadful.
     
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  19. lilmac

    lilmac Member

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  20. JudgeJudi

    JudgeJudi Well-Known Member

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    We are back in the Western Cape High Court today for Rob Packham's trial. A cellphone mapping expert is expected to take the stand (as soon as we have sorted out a few technical glitches).

    Warrant Officer Reece Harvey, based at Kirstenhof, takes the stand. His evidence will not be broadcast over video or audio because it involves crime detection.

    RH says he has been trained to use software that analyses cellphone data. He has been doing this "for many years". Judge asks how many years. He says approx 10 years.

    RH: I had to determine phone calls between the accused and the deceased, his daughter, and the school. I received call data from Packham's service provider.

    In court we have a printed timeline of events set up on a big board. A TV has also been set up to show the digital version.

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