Ro­hde found guilty of mur­der

Daily News - - METRO - ZODIDI DANO zodidi.dano@inl.co.za Ja­son Ro­hde

IN A WRESTLING match with his wife Su­san Ro­hde, for­mer prop­erty mogul Ja­son Ro­hde punched her, man­u­ally stran­gled and smoth­ered her with a pil­low be­fore drag­ging her body to the bath­room, where he staged it as a sui­cide.

This is ac­cord­ing to West­ern Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, when she de­liv­ered a guilty ver­dict in the mur­der case.

She also found Ro­hde guilty of stag­ing the mur­der as a sui­cide, which trans­lated to ob­struct­ing and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

Su­san was found dead in a locked bath­room in a room she shared with Ro­hde on July 24, 2016, at the Spier Wine Es­tate Ho­tel.

She was found with an elec­tronic cord wrapped around her neck.

The cord had been tied to the hook of the bath­room door.

It was Ro­hde’s ver­sion that she com­mit­ted sui­cide be­cause he raised the is­sue of di­vorce af­ter she learned he had not ended an ex­tra-mar­i­tal af­fair with his em­ployee, Jo­lene Al­ter­skye.

“The ac­cused must have dragged her from the bed­room, across the car­pet, into the bath­room, caus­ing the tan­gen­tial in­jury to her left arm and shoul­der.

“He could not have lifted her up and un­aided wind the cord around her neck, as she was too heavy. So he would have laid her flat on the floor, wound the cord around her neck and re­treated to the bed­room and locked the door,” she said.

Judge Salie-Hlophe said the State’s ev­i­dence proved be­yond rea­son­able doubt that the mur­der was staged.

“The ac­cused had set a scene to tell the story that his wife had com­mit­ted sui­cide. He staged her death as a play, set­ting in mo­tion var­i­ous ‘ac­tors’ as his al­i­bis.”

She said the call to handy­man Des­mond Daniels was part of the “play”.

Af­ter Daniels un­locked the door, Ro­hde re­vis­ited the scene to im­prove the play.

Judge Salie-Hlophe said he got in the bath­room to dress her in a robe, but had dif­fi­cul­ties due to her body weight. The robe was put in­side out. “You had di­rect in­tent to kill,” said Judge Salie-Hlophe.

Af­ter the ver­dict, a cry­ing Ro­hde was hand­cuffed and led down­stairs to the cells. He was de­nied an ex­ten­sion of his bail pend­ing ap­peal. Sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings will start on No­vem­ber 21.

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