Claims of marital problems as cops probe woman's Chapman's Peak death plunge
Cape Town - Hout Bay police detectives are hoping witnesses can clarify the circumstances leading to a Sea Point woman falling off the cliff edge at Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point five months ago.
On December 2, Jolandi le Roux jumped in the air at the cliff edge for photographs taken by her husband when she slipped and fell about 160m to her death.
Rescuers risked their lives for over six hours in dark and hazardous conditions to recover her body, trapped almost inaccessibly like a cork in a bottle in the base of a V-shaped gully.
“We know from the deceased’s husband that there were people at the scene when his wife fell,” said Hout Bay detective commander Captain Deon Bock. “But nobody took their names. We are asking those eyewitnesses to come forward to assist us in our investigation.”
Original reports were that Jolandi, a Superbalist supply chain specialist, was celebrating her 31st birthday with her family at Lookout Point on December 2 when the tragedy occurred.
But subsequent investigations into her death have revealed that after a wine farm lunch, Jolandi and her 33-year-old financial director husband Andrew le Roux arrived at Lookout Point alone. They sat for some time talking at the cliff edge, some distance from the public viewing area, before she fell.
Jolandi’s family arrived at the scene after Andrew called his mother-in- law to say she had “fallen off the mountain”.
Le Roux told detectives that after the couple took photos at Lookout Point they crossed the safety railing and walked to the cliff edge.
He did not explain why they ignored the sign that warns: “CAUTION! Strong winds and steep cliffs. Please stay behind the fence at all times.”
Jolandi, he says, wanted to jump up to get the sun in the background of a photo.
Jolandi jumped but wasn’t happy with the photo, he says. So she jumped again and lost her balance and fell over the cliff edge, he told cops.
Rescuers were astonished that he managed to scramble and free- climb 100m down the 65-degree mountainside of loose sandstone without falling to his death.
A source said the couple were having issues. “Jolandi’s life was hell for the last six months of her life,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
The stress landed Jolandi in hospital for 10 days in August. “She was deeply unhappy and lost a lot of weight.”
Until recently, detectives were unaware that the Le Rouxs had marital problems. Nor had they been told the couple spent up to an hour sitting in their car talking before getting out to take photos at Lookout Point.
Detectives have not established the exact spot where Jolandi slipped and fell to her death and there has been no reconstruction of the accident scene.
In another twist, it has emerged that shortly before her death, Jolandi had her grandmother’s name tattooed on her wrist and explained it was so that her grandmother could recognise her in heaven.
Le Roux refused to talk about the accident. “I’m not saying anything out of respect to my wife. I don’t think she would want to be spoken about in the way that it has been explained what happened. Revisiting this makes the long, hard journey to recovery only much harder and offers no benefit to anyone.”
Witnesses can contact Captain Deon Bock at 0824692576.