Judge inspects Spier hotel room where Susan Rohde’s body was found

2017-10-09 17:57
Jason Rohde re-visits the Spier hotel room where he allegedly killed his wife Susan. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Jason Rohde re-visits the Spier hotel room where he allegedly killed his wife Susan. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Curious hotel guests watched on as a Western Cape High Court judge, murder-accused Jason Rohde and others walked through the Spier Wine Farm on Monday to see where he allegedly killed his wife Susan.

Rohde, dressed in a suit, stuck close to his lawyer Pete Mihalik as they made their way along the quaint "Wisteria and Olive" lanes leading to small apartment blocks.

The property mogul had earlier on Monday pleaded not guilty to killing his wife during Sotheby’s annual conference on July 24, 2016, and defeating the ends of justice by staging a suicide.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe arrived at the inspection-in-loco in a police convoy and was taken to the hotel room in a golf cart.

Security was tight and police officers controlled access to the site.

Journalists were kept at a distance throughout the inspection, were not allowed inside the couple’s hotel room and were forbidden from speaking to employees and guests.

The hotel room, on the ground floor of a soft-hued building, was situated in a quiet part of the estate where only birdsong and the faint hum of the road nearby could be heard.

'I did not kill Susan'

The court delegation spent about half an hour inside the room. 

Officials were seen measuring distances outside the room and at various rooms nearby. Photos were also taken.

When Salie-Hlophe emerged, she was heard asking if there was CCTV in the area. She was told that there were cameras on the wine farm, but not near the hotel room in question.

Regional National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, said a report would now be compiled on the inspection-in-loco and shared with the relevant parties.

"If the parties agree on everything, then that report will be signed off by the judge and submitted as evidence," he said.

In Rohde’s plea explanation on Monday, he said, "I did not kill Susan and I did not stage a suicide."

The former CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises explained that they had a fight in the hotel, which included a heated verbal exchange and a physical confrontation.

Extramarital affair

He said his arm connected with her as he tried to get her to back off.

Rohde previously said he found his wife dead in the bathroom of their room at the luxury hotel.

The State alleged she was killed by means of manual strangulation and/or violence inflicted by means unknown.

It is also believed he supplied false information to police and tampered with the crime scene by staging a suicide with an electrical hair iron cord in their bathroom.

In his plea explanation, the father of three daughters admitted to an extramarital affair with colleague Jolene Alterskye - something he was not proud of.

He said that his wife found out about the affair in 2016 and insisted on accompanying him to the annual conference, despite no other partners accompanying his colleagues.

According to him, Susan’s conduct vacillated between anger, resentment, desperation and sadness.

The trial was set to resume on Tuesday.

Read more on:    jason rohde  |  cape town  |  courts

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