Jason Rohde, the businessman convicted of murdering his wife at the high court in Cape Town. File Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Jason Rohde, the businessman convicted of murdering his wife at the high court in Cape Town. File Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Susan Rohde's 'overstaged suicide was grotesque'

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Feb 21, 2019

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Cape Town - The “overstaged” suicide hanging, which saw Susan Rohde lying naked in the bathroom at the Spier Wine Estate Hotel, indicated that there was no care from her husband, former property mogul Jason Rohde, who was convicted of her murder and obstructing the ends of justice.

Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, who heard closing arguments in Jason’s sentencing proceedings said she observed strong aggravating features from photos taken at the scene on July 24, 2016.

“There was no care. I struggled to find acknowledgement from Mr Rohde that she was his wife, the mother of his children There was a grotesque vilification,” she said.

Susan was found with an electronic cord wrapped around her neck, hanging from a hook behind the bathroom door of the room they shared at the hotel.

According to the judgment, the two got into an argument after Susan discovered that Rohde had lied about ending his extramarital affair with an employee.

Susan died of manual strangulation or smothering.

Judge Salie-Hlophe asked the legal counsels to argue why she should not exceed the prescribed minimum sentence which is 15 years.

Defence advocate Graham Van der Spuy said Rohde maintained his innocence.

“The crime he is convicted of is a crime of passion.

“There was no vestige of violence that has been ever been perpetrated by the accused to his wife. No violence whatsoever, prior to the incident,” he said.

Van der Spuy said his client’s depression was a mitigating factor as well as his age and economic class.

“He is used to a luxurious life and overnight his liberties were totally and utterly removed. I have been to visit and consult with him in prison, it’s very noisy. He can’t even watch TV or sit in silence,” he said.

Van der Spuy said a 15-year sentence would affect Rohde’s children and the business he co-owned with his mother.

He added that Rohde blamed himself for his wife’s death, being unfaithful.

State advocate Louis Van Niekerk asked the court to give Rohde 18 to 20 years.

“The seriousness of the crimes, the impact on victims and interest of society outweighs the personal circumstances of the accused by far and there are no compelling circumstances that can deviate from minimum sentence.”

He added that Jason had already indicated that he wanted to appeal against his conviction, thus there was no prospects of rehabilitation.

“He brought it upon himself, the fall out is what we are seeing in the suffering of his three children; they are torn apart, they loved him,” said Van Niekerk. 

Sentencing is due to be made on Wednesday.


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Cape Argus

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