These were the words of former property mogul, Jason, in a frantic call to his brother-in-law three days after his wife Susan's death.
Cape Town “I killed her. I killed her. I killed her.”
These were the words of former property mogul, Jason Rohde, in a frantic call to his brother-in-law three days after his wife, Susan Rohde’s death.
In the Western Cape High Court on Monday, Mark Holmes, Susan’s brother, detailed Jason’s emotional call to him.
Holmes, who live in Melbourne, Australia, said he heard of his sister’s death while travelling back home after attending his grandmother’s birthday in Perth.
When he got the news, he was told Susan had committed suicide.
Susan’s body was found in a locked bathroom of the hotel room she shared with Jason at the Spier Wine Estate, on July 24, 2016. She was found with an electronic cord tied around her neck. The cord was tied to a hook on the bathroom door.
It is the State’s case that she was murdered by her husband, but the defence argues that it was suicide.
Holmes told the Western Cape High Court he had sent Jason text messages, after hearing about the death. He said on July 27, at 10.30pm Australian time, he received a call from a sobbing Jason.
“I answered the call and Jason was emotional, sobbing, crying profusely. It was difficult for me to understand all his words.
“He said: ‘I killed her, I killed her, I killed her.’ I tried to comfort him; tell him it wasn’t his fault, our family loved him, and that I would be there the next day,” Holmes told the court.
When Holmes arrived in South Africa, Jason called a family meeting at the couple’s Bryanston home.
“He shared with us that he was under police investigation and that he was having an affair with a woman called Jolene. That he was sorry and how he and Susan had an altercation at Spier and that he never laid a hand on her,” said Holmes.
Holmes said he was distraught and puzzled that his sister would commit suicide, in the knowledge that Jason was having an affair.
“I asked him why he would take her to the lion’s den if she was so fragile and he replied: ‘I am the CEO’.”
Holmes said he saw no link between their parents’ infidelity issues, 16 years before, and what Susan was undergoing at the time.
“She was resolute. Pleased that our parents were able to repair their marriage. She even found a marriage course for them to attend.
“I don’t believe the infidelity had left any scar on Susan. She led the change in driving them together (referring to their parents),” he said.
He told the court he never got an opportunity to say goodbye to his sister.
“We never had the time to say goodbye. We never knew she had a tough time. There was nothing said. She was just gone,” Holmes said.
The case resumes on March 27.