According to cellphone and CCTV footage Rob Packham was at the scene of the crime shortly after his wife’s BMW was burnt at Diep River train station at 9.30pm on Thursday February 22, 2018. This according to a timeline by cellphone specialist Warrant Officer Reece Harvey of Kirstenhof police who testified at the trial in the high court in Cape Town on Monday March 25.
Mr Packham is on trial for murdering his wife Gill. He has pleaded not guilty.
The timeline was shown on a television screen in court 6 with a 1.5m by 1m chart resembling a family tree. Instead of family members it had times, dates and duration of cellphone calls and towers and CCTV footage. Warrant Officer Harvey analysed data provided to the police by subpoena from Vodacom in November to trace Mr Packham’s movements.
Ms Packham’s cellphone was switched on for only six minutes on the morning she disappeared, from 7.03am to 7.09am.
Warrant Officer Harvey said Ms Packham was seen on video footage police obtained from the area leaving the Riesling Road house at 7.34am. He said that was the last activity detected on her cellphone.
Mr Packham’s counsel, Craig Webster, objected to Warrant Officer Harvey’s testimony, arguing that it was based on “supposition” and “reconstruction of the events”. He said it “creates an atmosphere where there is no justification for it”.
Ms Packham’s car was seen at Quintus Way at 2.11pm. This corresponds to testimony given by BKM patroller Paul Gray who had been on patrol on the day Gill went missing. He had said he was suspicious after noticing a green BMW with no number plates or licence on the corner of Lucius Way and Martius Way, The Vines. The timeline shows that the car was moved to Diep River railway station shortly after the Pink Ladies missing person report.
It also shows that Kenan Thomas saw the BMW on fire at Diep River train station in Massinger Road at 9.30pm. He identified Mr Packham as being the person running away from the scene.
The timeline shows that when Mr Packham was called to the scene later that night by Diep River police his phone was off. GPS cellphone records show he was at the scene, in Massinger Road and De Waal Road.
Mr Packham arrived home at 10.28pm but is shown to have spent the night in Camps Bay.
After recess Mr Webster argued that cellphone data is dynamic as signals switch from one tower to another. He said influences can include line of sight, structures between towers and the amount of capacity.
The trial continues.