Sotheby CEO wants own forensic reports into wife's murder

2016-08-08 17:42
Spier Hotel. (

Spier Hotel. (

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Cape Town - Sotheby International Realty chief executive officer Jason Rohde’s lawyers have commissioned pathological and forensic reports after his wife’s death was ruled as murder.

The reports would include toxicology and histology analyses - the study of the anatomy of cells and tissues - and more thorough examination of the X-rays, Rohde’s lawyer Daniel Witz told News24 on Monday.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said following the initial registration of an inquest docket, the results of the State pathologist’s post mortem led to the cause of her death being changed to murder last Thursday.

Witz said the reports were expected to be available within two weeks.

Susan, 47, was found dead at the Spier Wine Estate on July 24. Sotheby’s had hosted its annual conference at the lavish venue for the weekend.

Under investigation

Witz said that according to his client, he and his wife had woken up together that Sunday morning.

“She went into the bathroom to get ready and he fell asleep. When he awoke to get ready for a breakfast talk, he was unable to open the door,” he said.

Hotel maintenance was called to assist. Once opened, he found his wife hung behind the door, he told News24.

Allegations of the couple being involved in an argument at the hotel’s bar on Saturday night, where Susan apparently “stood in public and said she knew he was having an affair” were irrelevant, Witz argued.

He conceded that he had not asked his client about his personal life, and that this had not been in the original statement Rohde drafted. This initial statement given to police was never signed. Witz said he felt that it had been premature.

Van Wyk said the matter was still under investigation and that no arrests had been made.

Susan’s funeral was held last Tuesday, two days before her death was ruled a murder.

The couple have three daughters - an 18-year-old and twins who are 16.

Witz said his client was “not doing very well”.

“His focus is on his three daughters. We only communicate when absolutely necessary.”

Spier Hotel general manager Joep Schoof said its management was helping police with their investigation and was unable to comment any further.

Sotheby's spokesperson Samantha Bartlett said the company's chairperson Lew Geffen had extended his condolences to the entire family, following the “tragic” incident. She said Rohde was currently on leave.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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