Mon, 23 Sep 2019

Gill Packham's murder at the hands of her husband Rob last year has created strife for their families and continues to haunt her sisters, it emerged on Wednesday.

Their trauma was detailed in victim impact statements, which the State handed up for the Western Cape High Court to consider ahead of 57-year-old Packham's sentencing next month.

Packham's 28-year-old daughter Kerry Meyer asked the court earlier to not lock him up for life.

The court heard that Gill had four sisters and that she had been estranged from two of them. However, they had been rebuilding their relationships before her untimely death.

Her other sister Helen Humphrey, who lives with her husband in Missouri in the United States, shared in her statement that their lives had changed forever on February 22, 2018.

"It is a day we will never forget, and which has created trauma, division and fear within our family."

When they heard that Gill was missing, their initial reaction was of shock and concern that she had become a hijacking victim.

This turned to dread and sadness when Gill's car was found burning, with her body in the boot.

"The thought of anyone doing that that to my sister was unconscionable, let alone someone close to her," said Helen.

'Trauma', 'loss', 'savagery'

The lack of answers around her sister's murder had caused great psychological and emotional distress.

"Each family member has tried to deal with the trauma, the loss, the savagery, in their own way and this has created divisions and strife."

She felt they had collectively failed Gill.

"We failed to help her see that it is OK to walk away from a marriage or relationship that was not good for her; we failed to help her see that there are always options, and we failed to help her know that she was loved by so many, and we would have done anything to help her."

Roslynn Humphrey, who lives in France, said she had been living a nightmare since her sister's death.

She struggled every time she thought about the pain and suffering Gill must have gone through in her last moments, and wished she could have helped her more.

"How she must have suffered for no fault of her own, except that she was a woman who wanting to be loved and respected," said Roslynn.

"Inside me, all that is left is a big empty hole where my sister should be and used to be."

Packham will remain in custody until sentencing arguments on June 10. He is expected to be sentenced on June 12.

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