Murder accused Jason Rohde. File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Cape Town - Susan Rohde’s death was caused by hanging, a specialist forensic pathologist hired by murder-accused Jason Rohde told the Western Cape High court on Monday.

“I believe that the ligature was applied when the person was still alive and that hanging caused the death of the deceased,” Dr Izak Loftus said in response to defense Advocate Graham van der Spuy's question on what might have caused the death of Susan Rohde.

Jason Rohde who is accused of murdering his wife Susan Rohde and staging her suicide after her body was found hanging by her neck, by an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door of the hotel room they shared at the Spier Wine Estate in July 2016.
Van der Spuy asked: “If you were, to sum up, in terms of your expertise as a specialist and in terms of the probabilities and likelihood what would you say --was this an ante-mortem hanging and [what is] the cause of death?”

Loftus responded: “I believe the most probable cause of death was death by hanging. I do believe that there is -- for me or for logical proof in that area of haemorrhage that I showed the court -- the contusion in the areas of the haemorrhage in the underlying structure and when that ligature exerted its force to the body, the deceased was alive.”

Loftus said that he had no doubts in making that statement.

“Infect I’m very happy with that statement as is.”

He, however, said he could not exclude other causes of force applied to the neck although he stood by his stance stating that the cause of death was death by hanging.

African News Agency (ANA)