#Rohde: Court told of faeces in Spier hotel room

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Jun 22, 2018

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Cape Town - Faecal matter found in at least three different areas in Spier Wine Estate’s room 221 could possibly suggest that Susan Rohde was murdered and then dragged to the bathroom where her alleged hanging was staged.

This is what the State put to murder accused Jason Rohde’s defence expert forensic pathologist, Dr Reggie Perumal, in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Perumal said one of the changes the body made in death was sphincter incontinence, when the body involuntarily released secretion as further indication of asphyxia -deprivation of oxygen to the brain.

On Thursday, the court heard that faeces had been found on the tiles at the entry of room 221, on the floor at the entry of the bathroom as well as on the floor where her body was lying when police arrived.

Jason Rohde says his wife Susan committed suicide by hanging herself with an electric cord hooked on the bathroom door on July 24, 2016.

He said she had been wearing a dressing gown at the time. However, the State’s key witness and hotel maintenance man, Desmond Daniels, said she had been stark naked.

There were no faeces traced on the gown or at the back of the bathroom door, but faecal soiling was present in her buttocks.

Perumal said the gown should be stained, depending on the amount of secretion there was.

He said its presence in other areas in the room could be due to someone stepping on it and transferring it.

“The only explanation is contamination. Someone in the bathroom had stepped on stool and then walked out with it. I can't find any other explanation for it,” said Perumal.

Pressed by State prosecutor Louis van Niekerk on whether it was possible that Susan’s body had been dragged from the bedroom to the bathroom, the pathologist agreed. “If there was soiling present on Mrs Rhode and she was carried and dragged over this area, then it would have been transferred in that fashion.”

He added that her buttock area would have to be exposed, if that was the case, and "would have had to touch the ground”.

Earlier Van Niekerk had questioned the pathologist on the objectivity of his professional opinion and whether he was "slanting towards a certain position - the version of the accused?”

Perumal responded: “I am before the court as a professional, a scientist expressing opinion. All I have said is purely based on science. This is as objective as I can be.”


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Cape Argus

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