Jason Rohde adamant that his wife wanted to die

08 November 2017 - 15:50 By Aron Hyman
Murder accused property mogul Jason Rohde consults with his legal team in the Cape Town High Court.
Murder accused property mogul Jason Rohde consults with his legal team in the Cape Town High Court.
Image: Esa Alexander

"For 72 days I've felt like dying." This was a WhatsApp message from Susan Rohde to her husband Jason Rohde months before he alleged she committed suicide at the Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch last year.

He is on trial for her murder in the High Court in Cape Town. The state alleges that he strangled her to death and it emerged in court that Rohde had an affair with Cape Town real estate agent Jolene Alterskye.

In court on Wednesday his defence advocate Pete Mihalik read out extracts of WhatsApp conversations between the couple in an attempt to prove that Susan was suicidal.

Susan's psychologist Jane Newcombe‚ who she saw in the months leading up to her death‚ testified that she was not depressed and did not come across as suicidal.

However Mihalik asked her to look at messages Susan had sent her husband.

"All the therapist are worried I might kill myself‚" one message read.

Newcombe said that she never thought Susan was suicidal or depressed and her diagnosis was that she was anxious.

Another WhatsApp message Susan sent to Rohde read: "I don't really care anyway because for the whole 302 days you were with [Alterskye] you wanted to leave me‚ 302 days I was sad. Now for 72 days I felt like dying".

Mihalik asked Newcombe whether this would have caused her to diagnose Susan as suicidal.

"She was not expressing this to me in our therapy sessions so I can't make an assessment on this. If she was saying that to me as an impartial observer that would raise grave concerns. If she is saying that to me it has a different context and a different purpose than if she is using that in an argument‚" Newcombe replied.

Rohde and Alterskye attended a work conference at the wine estate in Stellenbosch. Susan insisted on joining him and came face to face with Alterskye.

In another message Susan told Rohde she would "personally murder'' Alterskye.

But it was Susan's body that was found in her hotel suite's bathroom with an electric cord around her neck.

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