Fight night before Susan Rohde's death

Turnabout: Jason Rohde recalls violent argument before his wife died

22 November 2017 - 07:03 By Aron Hyman
Murder accused Jason Rohde, left, and his wife, Susan, whom he is alleged to have strangled while they were attending a company conference.
Murder accused Jason Rohde, left, and his wife, Susan, whom he is alleged to have strangled while they were attending a company conference.
Image: David Harrison

The back of his hand connected with her face, his elbow with her nose and he grabbed her neck with his right hand and pushed and pulled her out of the way.

This is what caused some of Susan Rohde's injuries on the night before she died last year.

Her husband, Jason Rohde, is accused of her murder in the Cape Town High Court.

These admissions were made by his defence team yesterday in a turnabout after initially attacking state pathologist Akmal Coetzee-Khan's postmortem findings.

In a statement, read by Graham van der Spuy SC, Rohde recalls events portraying Susan as "angry, irrational and very, very aggressive".

They were at a company conference in Stellenbosch last year. His mistress was also there.

Rohde claims Susan started the evening before she died by drinking directly from a wine bottle.

He said at around 8pm she sent him a message demanding to be picked up so that they could enter a black-tie event together.

At the event she allegedly danced with other delegates "in a provocative manner" to get her husband's attention.

The alcohol-filled evening ended around 2am and Susan insisted the couple go to bed. But when they got there all hell broke loose.

She became enraged when he tried to delete a message sent by Rohde's mistress, Jolene Alterskye.

According to Rohde, when he tried to leave the room to go and rejoin the party, he was blocked by Susan, who was wearing nothing but a white robe.

"The accused grabbed her bathrobe and tried to pull her out of the way. Eventually, he grabbed her neck with his right hand and pushed and pulled her out of the way.

"As he tried to leave she grabbed his collar and he swung around and hit her on the face with the back of his hand," said Van der Spuy.

Rohde then went to a hotel room where he knew his mistress was having drinks with other guests. Susan was hot on his heels, screaming and swearing at him.

The couple went back to the bedroom - all the while Susan was pulling at him.

In an attempt to ward her off, "his elbow connected with her nose" and she "fell headlong into a garden over a low retaining wall and onto her right side".

Van der Spuy put the events to Coetzee-Khan in order for him to qualify whether they could have explained the injuries he noted in his postmortem findings.

Coetzee-Khan said some of the events would make sense.

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