This emerged in the Western Cape High Court yesterday when social worker Rian Perry relayed the details of his victim impact report.
Perry met with the family of slain Susan Rohde, which included a joint interview with Rohde’s twin daughters after they recently completed their Grade 12 final exams.
Perry was one of three witnesses called by the State yesterday as sentencing proceedings in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing got under way.
“The interview (with one of the twins) was very emotional.
“She said her whole life changed and their lives were turned upside down. She said their mother was the core of their family and every time when she woke up, she thought it was a dream.
“Since their father’s arrest, their lives and emotions became unstable and the trial caused them stress,” Perry said.
Perry said even though the twins remained focused on their school and sports and managed to excel academically, “the reports in the media affected them”.
Jason, with his head bowed, appeared to listen intently while Perry read his report.
“(The twins felt) reports in the media only went after the sensation and were not thinking of them as people.
“They have not yet dealt with losing their mother and are experiencing relationship difficulties in the family,” Perry said.
He said the girls, “remained aware of the struggle in the extended family”, and were aware of the support.
“Although they are aware of the support by the family, they know it won’t give them back either of their parents,” he said.
Perry said he explained to the girls the sentencing implications for their father after he was found guilty of murdering Susan, at the Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch in 2016 and staging it as a suicide.
“The twins are torn between mourning their mother and supporting their father. They are unable to mourn properly as they associate their mother’s death with the ongoing trial.
“They still require closure to deal with their mother’s death,” Perry said.
Dr Naeemah Abrahams, who completed her thesis on intimate partner femicide at the UCT, also took the stand yesterday after David Andersen, administrator of Susan’s estate, also gave testimony.
State prosecutor Louis van Niekerk said Rohde’s eldest daughter might be called to testify in camera and an application for this has been handed to the court.
Rohde is awaiting sentencing in custody. The case continues.