CAPE TOWN - State prosecutor Louis van Niekerk on Monday told the Western Cape High Court that the post-mortem results showed no signs that Susan Rohde hanged herself at the Spier Wine Estate in 2016.
Susan's body was found hanging by her neck by an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door of the room she shared with her husband Jason Rohde, who is on trial for strangling his wife and staging the suicide.
Van Niekerk said Rohde’s version of testimony was not true when he had claimed that the knot was tight around Susan’s neck.
He told the court that Desmond Daniels, the hotel’s handyman who was called by Jason Rohde to unlock the bathroom door had testified that there was no struggle removing the noose from Susan’s neck.
“Daniels said that the knot was not tight and he is the one who removed the knot from Susan’s neck and you still tell this court that the knot was tight,” said Van Niekerk.
Rohde replied: “I cannot tell you what Mr. Daniels saw, I can only tell you what I saw advocate.”
“I can put that to you, sir, that you staged this hanging scenario, you put her behind that door,” insisted Van Niekerk.
Van Niekerk said Rohde was not helping the State as he said he could not recall how many knots there were in the noose that had been around his wife's neck.
According to Daniels' testimony, he saw a single strand which was loose around Susan’s neck, a statement which Rodhe rejected, saying that “Mr. Daniels might have been very shocked by the whole scenario and as I said to you before, I wouldn’t comment on what he saw”.
Van Niekerk again accused Rohde of lying to the court as he claimed that his wife was wearing a gown when she was found, while Daniels had testified that he saw the naked body of Susan when he got inside the bathroom.
“Daniels was asked by the court what did he see when he got inside that room, and he said he saw the naked body of Susan. You tell this court that she was wearing a gown,” Van Niekerk told the court. “Why would he say your wife was naked when you insist that she was wearing a gown.”
“Mr Van Niekerk, Daniels' testimony is incorrect, Susan was not naked, she was wearing a gown,” replied Rohde.
"According to your testimony, you called on Daniels to assist you to remove the cord, that means he was close up to you, why would he not see the gown?” Van Niekerk asked Rohde.
Rohde insisted: “Hundred percent, she was wearing a gown, there is no doubt about that.” He admitted lying to his wife about his extra-marital affair but told Van Niekerk that he was not lying to the court.
“No advocate, I’m telling the truth. I repeat, being an adulterer, doesn’t make one a murderer.”
Van Niekerk further questioned the accused if there was anything that could have been an obstruction which prevented Daniels from seeing the gown.
“No,” responded Rohde.
“Then why would he say on his testimony that she was naked,” insisted Van Niekerk. Rohde reiterated his stance that he could not speak for Daniels, saying ”well that’s his version and I disagree with it”.
The matter was postponed to Tuesday.
African News Agency/ANA