Rohde’s ‘selfish’ deeds might leave his children homeless, court hears
Things went downhill for the wife killer when she discovered his infidelity, says his lawyer
Wife killer Jason Rohde’s selfishness could land his children on the streets.
They lost their plush home in Johannesburg and they might also lose their Plettenberg Bay home because it is over-bonded. This emerged in prosecutor Louis van Niekerk’s summary of the former real estate executive’s predicament during sentencing procedures in the High Court in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Rohde’s extramarital affair with a colleague had triggered a series of events that culminated in his wife Susan’s death in Spier, Stellenbosch, in 2016. The couple had three children.
“The girls had lost their home. Nothing will ever be the same for them. The unwelcome media attention they had received since the incident is only a fraction of what they each as young girls had to go through since their mom was murdered at the hands of their father. It is apparent that all the girls, but especially the twins, had not be able to deal property with the death of their mother, and still require closure,” said Van Niekerk.
He said the only remaining home was the family’s holiday home in Plettenberg Bay. But it was also heavily mortgaged to pay for Rohde’s legal costs during the trial.
Rohde’s counsel, Graham van der Spuy, urged the court to mete out a lenient sentence because the former chief executive recently turned 50. If the court imposed the prescribed 15-year minimum sentence he would be unable to fend for himself, he said.
“All of that is of his own making,” Van Niekerk said.
He asked the court to sentence Rohde to 15 years’ imprisonment and use its discretion in sentencing him for defeating or obstructing the administration of justice. Van Niekerk asked that the sentences not run concurrently.
“The three girls are each at a vulnerable age just entering life after school. They are intelligent young women who now have to continue life without the support of their mom, knowing that their father had the direct intention to kill her,” said Van Niekerk.
“It is fortunate that, as described by witness David Anderson who is administering the estate of Susan, a trust is set up for the girls by Susan’s will. The practical effect following the conviction of the accused is that her estate will go to this trust for the maintenance and education of the three daughters.”
According to Van Niekerk, Susan’s life policy had paid out R750,000. Van der Spuy said the trial had been “financially devastating” for Rohde. Rohde’s employer had fired him after he was charged.
“How long can you educate children for that amount? It’s about R100,000 per child per year,” said Van der Spuy.
“They have already lost their house in Johannesburg after it was sold. Their only home is the Plettenberg Bay property, which has been treated as a holiday home.”
Van der Spuy asked the court to be lenient. He described the fateful day as a “moment of madness where a person's act out of character turns into a nightmare”.
Rohde will be sentenced on Wednesday. He remains in custody and his bail was revoked following his conviction in November.