“I killed her! I killed her! I killed her!”
That’s what a “sobbing” Jason Rohde allegedly told the brother of his wife, Susan, over the phone just days after she was found hung in a Stellenbosch hotel bathroom.
Michael Holmes [above] flew in from Australia on Saturday to attend the trial, and testified in the Cape Town High Court on Monday.
He explained how “four days after he was told his sister had committed suicide at the Spier Wine Estate near Stellenbosch in July 2016‚ he was awoken by Rohde’s phone call on a Wednesday night at 10:30PM Melbourne time,” reports Times LIVE.
“Jason was very emotional. He was sobbing and crying quite profusely. It was difficult to hear what he was saying‚” said Holmes.
“He told me‚ ‘I killed her! I killed her! I killed her!’”
At the time, the only information Holmes had received was that Susan had committed suicide. He thought Rohde was merely voicing his grief and guilt over her suicide, and not that Rohde was actually admitting to murder:
“I tried to comfort him‚ I tried to tell him it wasn’t his fault. I told him the family all loved him‚” said Holmes.
Soon after the call, Holmes and his partner‚ Anthony‚ flew from Melbourne to “attend a family meeting at Rohde’s family home in Bryanston on July 29”:
“Jason initiated the meeting. He shared with us the further discussion he had with the police and that he was under investigation. He shared with us that he had an affair. He shared with us how sorry he was. He shared with us the altercation at Spier‚ and that he never laid a hand on her‚” said Holmes.
He said that Jason told them that he was “puzzled” about why Susan would have committed suicide.
“I got quite vocal and I was distraught‚” he said‚ fixing his gaze on Rohde sitting on the other side of the court.
“And I can remember this like yesterday‚ I said: ‘How could you take her to the lion’s den if she’s so fragile?'” he said‚ raising his voice and still looking at Rohde.
“He said to me: ‘I’m the CEO! I’m the CEO!’ and I was like‚ ‘So?’”
Holmes continued to explain that Susan was “passionate” and “had a temper”, and that she would never give up after finding out her husband had an affair.
Just before Holmes took to the stand, the court finished the cross examination of Desmond Daniels‚ the handyman who opened the locked bathroom door behind which Susan’s body was discovered:
It is claimed that she used a hair iron cord to hang herself.
Daniels claimed that Rohde had changed the position of the cord after he left the scene.
Daniels said that Rohde asked him to get the cord off her neck as soon as they opened the bathroom door and found the body. He said that there were no knots and that the chord was easy to remove.
The trial resumes next Tuesday, so there may still be more twists and turns ahead.
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