Rohde's colleague unsettled by what he saw as he gave Susan CPR

2017-10-10 14:16
Jason Rohde (right) leaves court with his lawyer Pete Mihalik. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Jason Rohde (right) leaves court with his lawyer Pete Mihalik. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – A colleague of murder-accused Jason Rohde tried to resuscitate his wife Susan at the Spier Wine Farm, but felt uneasy after noticing several things which did not add up at the crime scene, he told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Mark Thompson, an operations manager at Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty, was called as the State's first witness.

LIVE: 'Her nakedness struck me' - Witness descibes dead body in Rohde murder trial

Thompson, who was dressed in a black suit and light blue tie, said he knew Jason for about seven years.

Thompson, Rohde and his wife had attended their annual conference at the wine farm at the end of July 2016.

On Sunday July 24, he was leaving the breakfast table when a colleague said there was some trouble in a room, apparently a suicide.

"I said, 'What if it is one of ours [staff]?' and went to look for the room," said Thompson.

As he got to the room, cleaning staff told him there was a "white man inside and a white woman who tried to hang herself".

He saw Susan's body lying on the bathroom floor and Rohde sitting next to her.

"I was in a bit of shock and Jason looked up and said, 'Mark help me, Mark help me'."

'She was 'porcelain white'

Thompson said he immediately started compressing her chest and blew into her mouth. He forgot to block her nose.

"I have never done CPR and I forgot to block her nose. I said to him, 'Don't worry Jason, we will get her back'."

It became clear to him that she was dead because her body was cold, she was "porcelain white" and her lips were blue.

He felt he could not let Rohde and everyone else down so he carried on performing CPR for 30 to 45 minutes.

At one stage, he said Rohde got up and blew into her mouth once before sitting down again.

Thompson got excited when blood came out of her nose because he thought her heart was pumping again.

He recalled telling her husband, "Jase, Jase, I think we got her back". He apparently did not respond.

Thompson wiped the blood away a few times.

Naked body with 'massive bruise'

What struck him about the scene was her nakedness.

He wondered why she was still naked and why nobody had covered her body. A "massive bruise" near her thigh disturbed him.

Something also did not add up for him about the cord hanging on the back of the bathroom door.

"Susan was a fairly tall woman. The knot at the top by the hook wasn’t taut as I would expect if somebody had hung on there," he noted.

"On the one side of the two strands hanging down was a small single knot and I was thinking…It clearly couldn't have been taken off her neck because it was a small loop."

He said Rohde's lack of reaction and interaction with his wife surprised him.

"He never said, 'Susan I love you. Susan, what about the girls? Susan, I am sorry'."

Thompson could not understand how the position of her body - head furthest from the door and her feet under the basin – correlated with her hanging on the door.

He noticed a small stool [faeces] lying next to her hip and a pool of urine pooling at her buttocks.

In his mind, she would have defecated at the door.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    jason rohde  |  cape town  |  crime

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