Jason Rohde's daughters do not want to lose their father as well, social worker tells court

2018-12-05 20:15

Jason Rohde's three daughters are struggling to come to terms with their mother's death and do not want to lose him too once he is sentenced for her murder, a social worker told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

The State called its three witnesses to testify in aggravation of sentence on Wednesday afternoon after a delay due to loadshedding.

Rian Perry, a social worker at the provincial social development department, testified about his victim impact report.

He compiled the report after interviewing Susan's family, the couple's daughters, the family psychologist and a school principal.

Kathryn, 20, is a second-year university student and the twins Alex and Josie, 18, recently finished their matric exams.

Perry said they were torn between mourning for their mother and having concern for their father.

"They still require closure and surety in this matter to be able to deal with the mother's death," he said.

He added: "The child (Kathryn) and her siblings have reportedly been fearful of saying things that the court could use against their father."

They indicated to him that they did not want to lose their remaining parent and said jailing him would affect them significantly.

ALSO READ: Jason Rohde won't testify for lesser sentence, but his daughters might

While family members had been supportive, they worried about their future and security.

He found that Susan's death also greatly impacted her parents and siblings and created conflict in the family.

Defence advocate Graham van der Spuy demanded to know why Perry had not interviewed Rohde's parents.

Perry explained that his report focused on the impact on Susan's immediate family. However, he said any person was welcome to speak up and be interviewed.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe found Rohde guilty of murdering his wife at Spier hotel in July 2016 and of obstructing justice by trying to make her death look self-inflicted.

The property mogul "staged her death as a play" and roped in various "actors" and "extras" to tell a story that she had committed suicide, she said during her judgment last month.

David Anderson, the administrator of Susan's estate, testified that Jason was listed as the beneficiary.

He paid around R2.9m to Jason for his defence in court and only around R80 000 in cash remained.

The estate has been paying for the daughters' maintenance and education expenses.

The court was handed a confirmation letter from Stellenbosch University which stated that the twins had been provisionally accepted for studies in 2019.

"He (Jason) asked me to pay immediately. He wanted to make sure it was in place for the girls next year."

Susan's mother Diane Holmes offered to lend up to R500 000 to help bridge the financial gap until the estate was liquid again.

Anderson said Susan's R2.6m Liberty Life life insurance policy, which listed Jason as the beneficiary, has not yet been paid out.

He told Van der Spuy he could not close the estate until the court case had reached finality.

The court also heard evidence from Dr Naeemah Abrahams, the acting director of the Gender & Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council.

She testified about the high rates of femicide and intimate partner violence in South Africa and referred to a qualitative study which highlighted criteria for men who killed their partners.

Van der Spuy said while her research highlighted a "terrible situation", Abrahams was not in a position to comment about Susan's murder because Jason did not fit this criteria.

She agreed and said the court had already found Jason guilty of the murder. She felt her role was to show the court how serious the crime was.

The defence is expected to call its witnesses when sentencing proceedings continue on Thursday.

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

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