Su­san Ro­hde ‘dis­played de­pres­sion symp­toms’

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - Zodidi Dano

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. – zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: COURT­NEY AFRICA/ANA

MUR­DER AC­CUSED: Ja­son Ro­hde in the Western Cape High Court charged with the mur­der of his wife, Su­san.

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