Jason Rohde: 'I already have a life sentence'

2018-05-30 12:06
(Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

(Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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WATCH: Murder-accused Jason Rohde testifies

2018-05-30 09:53

The discovery of Susan Rohde's body hanging from a bathroom door in 2016 "finished" her husband Jason Rohde and he did not want to live, he testified on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Rohde will be cross examined by the state. Watch. WATCH

After two days of testifying about his affair and the discovery of his wife Susan's hanging body, businessman Jason Rohde turned to Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe on Wednesday and said he had already been given a "life sentence".

Rohde, who has been charged with his wife's murder, took the stand on Monday as the first defence witness in his trial.

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During his evidence-in-chief, he focused on how his affair with Jolene Alterskye had torn his family apart and driven his wife to anger and obsession.

On Wednesday, he reiterated that the allegation that he had killed her and staged her suicide was simply not true and made no sense.

Defence lawyer Graham van der Spuy then asked if he had any "last words" for the court.

'I made a lot of mistakes, but I am not a murderer'

Rohde said he was guilty of being an adulterer and had destroyed the lives of his three daughters and Susan’s family.

"I take full responsibility. I have to live with that shame for the rest of my life," he said to the judge.

"The option for me was divorce, my lady, not murder. With all my faults, I am not a murderer. I made a lot of mistakes, but I am not a murderer."

He said that was the guilt and shame he had to carry.

When he looked at his children, he knew he was guilty of driving their mother to take her life, but he was not guilty of killing her, the court heard.

"I destroyed a lot of people's lives, but I didn't kill her. The way I think of it, I already have a life sentence. I can never get rid of that. It makes me sick to my stomach."

Not able to grieve 

Rohde said he did not know if the court would understand, but said it felt like he had not even been able to grieve for Susan.

"Because, from 24 to 48 hours after the 24th [July 2016], I have just been fighting for my life," he said.

"The other night I dreamt she was standing next to me holding my hand and there is a lady sitting in the gallery now who reminds me of Susan."

Van der Spuy had earlier taken him through the indictment and all the allegations the State made, including that he picked his wife up, wrapped a cord around her neck and set it up to look like a suicide.

Rohde shrugged his shoulders and repeatedly denied the allegations.

He said that his wife bruised very easily and that the bruises on her thigh were from a fall she sustained while doing a handstand at home.

The court heard that the couple's insurance policy, taken out in 2015 and worth R2.5 million, had a two-year exclusion clause for suicide.

"In layman's terms, if a person who is insured commits suicide in that period, there is no payment forthcoming from the policy," explained Rohde.

The trial continues.

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Read more on:    jason rohde  |  susan rohde  |  cape town  |  courts

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