Forensic pathologist: Susan Rohde’s suicide possibly staged

Her husband Jason Rohde is accused of strangling her, but he says he believes she may have committed suicide.

FILE: Susan and Jason Rohde. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - A forensic pathologist has testified there are signs that Susan Rohde's death at the Spier Hotel near Stellenbosch may have been staged.

Her husband is accused of strangling her, but he says he believes she may have committed suicide in the bathroom of their hotel room in July last year.

The State argues Jason Rohde staged her suicide.

Forensic pathologist Akmal Coetzee-Khan says he was called to the crime scene after police couldn't determine whether Susan’s death was a murder or a suicide.

He says he found a ligature imprint on the front and side of her neck. He also found scratches on her lower jaw and to the left of her neck which were possibly fingernail marks.

He’s also testified that a bruise to her left eye suggested blunt force trauma. Other bruises to her knuckles and wrists were indicative of defensive wounds.

The doctor says he also found it odd that there were blood stains on the bed, duvet, pillow and bedroom floor.

The blood stains the doctor found in the bedroom could indicate that the body was moved.

He also noted abrasions that were consistent with dragging.

His analysis indicated death in a lying position as opposed to death in an upright position, which is the position her body was in when it was found.

The forensic pathologist has found Susan's cause of death was unnatural and consistent with asphyxia following manual strangulation.

He also found fresh blood in her stomach as well as in her small intestine.

Photos shown in court depicted the victim's body and the crime scene.

The State witness has testified the evidence does not support the claim that she took her own life by hanging herself.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)