Cape Town – Children of former property mogul Jason Rohde, who has been found guilty of murdering his wife Susan Rohde, have asked the court to consider the fact that they would be losing another parent should Rohde serve a hefty sentence.
Twins Josie and Alexandra’s testimony was heard through social worker Rian Perry, who interviewed the women to formulate a victim impact report on the influence their mother’s death had on the family.
Susan was found dead in a locked bathroom in a hotel room she shared with Rohde, an electronic cord wrapped around her neck, on July 24, 2016 at Spier Wine Estate Hotel.
Perry said the twins, 18, found it difficult to talk about their father’s sentencing and had not been able to deal with the loss of their mother due to the trial. They said that they did not want to lose their father as well.
“I told them, ‘You realise that your dad can be in prison?’ and they said yes, but it’s difficult for them to face. The children are torn between mourning their mother while being concerned about their father.
“Alex said even thinking of her mother brings negative feelings because thinking of her mother brings forth the trial. They see themselves as being alone and believe they need their father,” said Perry.
Perry said the sisters, including Katie, 20, experienced support from family members. However, the family members were also impacted by the situation and experienced conflicting feelings, leaving them to feel alone.
Perry said both girls expressed having a close-knit relationship with their mother, who they saw as the primary parent, and Josie, who attended boarding school, spoke to her mother daily and felt it difficult to voice her feelings on the matter.
Rohde’s attorney, Graham van der Spuy asked Perry why he only interviewed the children and Susan’s family members, but not Jason’s parents.
Van der Spuy questioned the objectivity of the report.
However, Perry said he had only followed the instruction given to him to interview the victim’s children, parents and sibling’s, as his focus was to look at secondary victims.
Other State witnesses who testified included an expert on femicide and woman abuse, Dr Naeemah Abrahams, who spoke on the killing and abuse of woman in South Africa and internationally, but refrained from linking the information to the Rohde case.
Abrahams said there was no blueprint in criteria of a man likely to kill his wife, but risk factors indicating someone could act in this manner could be identified.