How Susan Rohde’s body was found: 'I saw a leg near the basin' - court hears

2018-02-28 15:56
Susan Rohde. (Image via Facebook)

Susan Rohde. (Image via Facebook)

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

Cape Town – A maintenance worker from Spier Wine Estate physically demonstrated to the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday how he came to be the first person to see Susan Rohde’s body.

Jason Rohde is on trial for his wife's murder and for defeating/obstructing the ends of justice by allegedly staging her suicide. Her body was found hanging from a bathroom door in their hotel room.

At the time the couple had attended Sotheby’s annual conference at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.

READ: Rohde case: 'Not enough blood found to prove violence at death scene'

Desmond Daniels shared with the court his initial thoughts after he received a request to unlock the bathroom door in Jason Rohde’s hotel room at 08:15 on July 24, 2016.

"I thought something had happened – why couldn’t it open?" said Daniels.

With the aid of the actual bathroom door, Daniels demonstrated how he unlocked and opened the door 15cm wide before he saw her body.

Daniels testified that the bathroom door was locked from the outside, but noted that it was possible to unlock the door from the outside using a screwdriver, a coin or a teaspoon.

A seemingly calm and collected Jason Rohde observed as a police officer in court volunteered to act as his wife in Daniels’ demonstration.

'A cable was around her neck'

"When I opened the door, I saw a leg near the basin – from the knee to the feet," Daniels told the court, with the aid of an Afrikaans interpreter.

"[Jason Rohde] called out 'Susie!' and went inside."

Daniels explained that he waited outside the bathroom until Jason Rohde asked him for assistance.

"When I went in, the person was naked. [Jason] held [Susan] under the arms. Her head was skewed, tilted a bit," he said.

"There was no breathing and a cable was around her neck."

Daniels told the court that the electrical cable from hair curling tongs was loosely tied around Susan Rohde’s neck.

"The cord was not tight around her neck because I could untie it easily," he said.

He then left the bathroom and contacted the maintenance control room.

"I made a phone call to the control room because the person wasn’t breathing, so that the ambulance and police could be notified," Daniels told the court.

Legal team downsized

Jason Rohde’s lawyer advocate Van der Spuy requested a postponement to "adequately challenge the evidence".

"I was not involved in this aspect of the case at all. I cannot do justice to this case if I cross-examine the witness now," said Van der Spuy.

Jason Rohde recently downsized his legal team, which previously consisted of advocates Van der Spuy, Pete Mihalik, Ross McKernan and attorneys Daniel Witz and Stacey Webb.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe said that, while it was "not ideal for the flow evidence in a criminal trial" to be unduly delayed, she would grant Van der Spuy’s request to postpone Daniels’ cross-examination.

State witness Colonel Poolman will take the stand on Thursday.


Read more on:    susan rhode  |  jason ­rohde  |  cape town  |  crime  |  court

Join the conversation! 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.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.