Susan Rohde ‘displayed depression symptoms’
SUSAN Rohde, slain wife of property mogul Jason Rohde, displayed symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and suicide ideation, the Western Cape High Court heard.
Carol Nader, the marriage counsellor who had been assisting the couple for 13 sessions, said she had recommended that Rohde be admitted to a clinic for treatment. She had asked Rohde whether she was suicidal.
“Her reply was ‘No. I would never do that to my children’. I never asked her again. I felt that she was insulted by me asking her that question,” said Nader.
She made a mental checklist of the symptoms Rohde displayed. Some of the symptoms matched those of Major Depressive Disorder, Nader said.
“Susan was hyper aroused. She complained of feeling sad, empty and sometimes hopeless. She appeared to be isolating herself, was not socialising with her friends, didn’t want to confide in anyone. She complained of having difficulty in sleeping and expressed lots of agitation and erratic behaviour,” said Nader.
Rohde told the counsellor she had lost 8-10kg since February when she first found out about her husband’s affair.
When the couple first sought counselling they had made goals of reconciling after the affair and improving communication and conflict resolution. “Jason expressed the view that he feared losing Susan and did not want to get divorced. Both Jason and Susan agreed that they wanted to keep the rift in their marriage confidential and did not want to inform any other parties.”
In the first session Rohde suggested that they take a week off apart to re-evaluate things. However, in the last session on July 20, 2016 – four days before the alleged murder – Jason arrived at the session angry, said Nader. “He said he didn’t want to attend counselling that day but Susan insisted. He said he didn’t want Susan to attend the conference. Susan said she wanted the whole firm to see them together. I advised against it. I felt it would make her more anxious.”
Susan’s husband stormed out of counselling that day. She died on July 2 last year.
Defence lawyer Pete Mihalik questioned Nader about an allegation she had made in her evidence-in-chief. Nader had said the defence’s expert witness, Doctor Larissa Panieri-Peter, had said in her report Rohde was suicidal. “I crossed it out. At no stage did I say she is suicidal. I said she could be a suicide risk,” said Nader. The trial continues tomorrow. – firstname.lastname@example.org
MURDER ACCUSED: Jason Rohde in the Western Cape High Court charged with the murder of his wife, Susan.