I was wor­ried about sui­cide — coun­sel­lor

The Times (South Africa) - - News - By FARREN COLLINS

● A “frus­trated” and “an­gry” Ja­son Ro­hde stormed out of the fi­nal mar­riage coun­selling ses­sion with his wife Su­san be­fore she was found dead four days later.

Ro­hde was al­legedly up­set be­cause she in­sisted on join­ing him for a com­pany con­fer­ence at the Spier Wine Es­tate in July 2016‚ where she was found dead in her ho­tel room.

This tes­ti­mony came from the cou­ple’s mar­riage coun­sel­lor‚ Carol Nader‚ in the Cape Town High Court on Mon­day. She was called to the stand by state ad­vo­cate Louis van Niekerk.

Ro­hde is ac­cused of mur­der­ing his wife and try­ing to make her death look like a sui­cide. The state has ar­gued that Su­san was not sui­ci­dal while the de­fence ar­gued to the con­trary.

Nader — who saw the cou­ple for 13 ses­sions‚ of 70 min­utes each‚ from Fe­bru­ary 29 un­til July 20‚ 2016 — said that Su­san com­plained of her hus­band be­ing dis­con­nected.

When Nader asked Su­san if she had thoughts of sui­cide she replied: “No‚ I would never do that to my chil­dren.”

Nader‚ who is qual­i­fied to make pri­mary as­sess­ments on sui­cide but not a clin­i­cal di­ag­no­sis‚ said she used a sui­cide check­list to as­sess whether Su­san showed signs of suf­fer­ing from a ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der.

“I high­lighted child­hood trauma‚ low tol­er­ance for men­tal and emo­tional pain‚ feel­ings of hope­less­ness‚ iso­la­tion‚ out­bursts of rage and er­ratic be­hav­iour‚” said Nader.

To­wards the end of their ses­sions Nader noted an im­prove­ment in Su­san‚ who had also started see­ing a psy­chol­o­gist. But Nader noted with con­cern her sui­ci­dal be­hav­iour.

“I was still con­cerned about sui­cide‚” she said. “I was not con­vinced she was not sui­ci­dal but I did not bring it up be­cause she felt in­sulted by the [in­sin­u­a­tion].”

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