Cape Town - Susan Rohde, slain wife of property mogul Jason Rohde, displayed symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and suicide ideation, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.
Carol Nader, the marriage counsellor who had been assisting the couple for 13 sessions, said she had recommended that Rohde be admitted to a clinic for treatment.
She said she had asked Rohde if she was suicidal.
“Her reply was: 'No. I would never do that to my children.' I never asked her again. I felt that she was insulted by me asking her that question,” said Nader.
Nader said she made a mental checklist of the symptoms Rohde displayed. Some of the symptoms matched those of Major Depressive Disorder
“Susan was hyper aroused. She complained of feeling sad, empty and sometimes hopeless. She appeared to be isolating herself, was not socialising with her friends, didn’t want to confide in anyone. She complained of having difficulty in sleeping and expressed lots of agitation, erratic behaviour,” said Nader.
Rohde told the counsellor that she had lost eight to ten kilograms since February when she first found out about the affair.
When the couple first sought counselling they had made goals of reconciling after the affair and improving communication and conflict resolution.
“Jason expressed the view that he feared losing Susan and did not want to get divorced. Both Jason and Susan agreed that they wanted to keep the rift in their marriage confidential and did not want to inform any other parties,” she said.
In the first session Rohde suggested that they take a week off apart to re-evaluate things.
However, in the last session on July 20, 2016 - four days before the murder - Jason arrived at the session angry, said Nader.
"He said he didn't want to attend counselling that day and Susan insisted. He said he didn't want Susan to attend the conference. Susan said she wants the whole firm to see them together. I advised against it. I felt it would make her more anxious."
Rohde’s husband stormed out of counselling that day.
Rohde was found dead on July 24, 2016. Her husband is on trial for her murder.
Nader found out about about Rohde’s death three days later.
Under cross-examination, Nader denied Rohde was suicidal.
"I crossed it out. At no stage did I say she is suicidal. I said she could be a suicide risk," said Nader.