Susan Rohde appears to have been strangled, court hears

2016-08-26 16:04
Jason Rohde in court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Jason Rohde in court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Susan Rohde, the wife of businessman Jason Rohde, appears to have been strangled, with signs of smothering and asphyxia, the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Carine Teunissen said according to two State pathologists, it appeared the cord found around her neck was applied after her death.

The businessman was arrested on Tuesday for his wife's death on July 24. Initially thought to be suicide, an inquest docket was opened until the post-mortem indicated foul play might have been involved.

Rohde, the CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, commissioned pathological and forensic reports after a murder docket was opened by police.

These suggested that Susan, 47, had committed suicide.

News24 previously reported that Rohde told his lawyer that he and his wife had woken up at the Spier Wine Estate together that Sunday morning. According to him, she had gone into the bathroom and he fell asleep.

Argument at hotel bar

When he awoke later to prepare for a breakfast talk he was to give at Sotheby's annual conference, he was unable to open the bathroom door, he said.

Hotel maintenance assisted, and Susan was found hanging in the bathroom.

According to the pathologists, her time of death was 05:40 that morning.

Reports that the two had had an argument at the hotel's bar the night before, where Susan allegedly publicly told Rohde she knew he was having an affair, were previously dismissed by lawyer Daniel Witz as irrelevant.

Pete Mihalik, for the accused, insisted the State does not have a strong case against Rohde.

"Every day he is in custody he is broken down more and more."

Pleading not guilty

Magistrate Greg Jacobs ruled that Rohde remain in custody while police investigate further, as requested by State.

Rohde, during his first court appearance on Thursday, said in a statement he intended pleading not guilty, and had co-operated with police from the start. 

The father of three, who was born in the UK, was a South African citizen and his passports for both these countries had expired.

He also had an Australian passport from a brief period of emigration, which was valid until 2017.

He said his wife had an insurance policy which specifically disqualified suicide as grounds for a claim.

He listed his income and expenses as a house in Bryanston worth R9.4m, which he and Susan were planning to sell because their oldest daughter would be matriculating soon, and a holiday home in Plettenberg Bay worth R2.2m. He owed R1m on his BMW and R450 000 on Susan's Mercedes-Benz.

Couple's counselling

He earned R110 000 a month as CEO, and another R45 000 for the property company he started, and received dividends of around R180 000 a year. He had a 22% share in a property trust worth around R20m.

He married Susan in 1993 and they have 16-year-old twin daughters and an 18-year-old daughter.

The couple had been going for counselling together and Susan had mentioned a few times that she was feeling suicidal, he said.

Teunissen said outstanding evidence includes DNA analysis from the scene, cellphone and laptop data, information on Rohde's offshore assets as well as corroboration of information that she was suicidal. 

The matter was postponed until Tuesday.

Read more on:    jason rohde  |  cape town  |  court

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.