South African real estate mogul arrested on suspicion of strangling wife to death with hair straighteners

Jason Rohde was arrested by officers at his home outside Johannesburg at dawn on Tuesday morning

Adam Withnall@adamwithnall
Tuesday 23 August 2016 16:25
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Jason Rohde and his wife Susan were attending a conference when she was found dead in the bathroom
Jason Rohde and his wife Susan were attending a conference when she was found dead in the bathroom

The chief executive of a South African real estate giant has been arrested on suspicion of strangling his wife to death with her hair straighteners.

Jason Rohde was arrested by officers at his home outside Johannesburg at dawn on Tuesday morning, following the death of his wife Susan Rohde late last month.

Mr Rohde, 47, is the CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, a franchise of the property brand launched in the seventies by the London auctioneers of the same name.

He and his wife, also 47, were attending a Sotheby’s conference at the Spier Wine Estate near Cape Town on 24 July when Ms Rohde was found hanged by the electrical chord of her hair straighteners in the bathroom.

The property mogul’s lawyer had previously told News 24 how he said he had woken up on that Sunday morning to find his wife was not in their bed. He said he went to the bathroom and was unable to open it, at which point he called for help.

Mr Rohde’s lawyer, Daniel Witz, said that according to his client, the pair initially woke up together.

“She went into the bathroom to get ready and he fell asleep. When he awoke to get ready for a breakfast talk, he was unable to open the door,” he said.

Hotel maintenance staff helped open the door, at which point Ms Rohde was found dead, Mr Witz said.

According to eNCA, the incident was initially reported as suicide.

But a murder investigation was opened after a state pathologist’s post mortem suggested the cause of death was strangulation.

Captain FC van Wyk of the Western Cape police said the suspect was expected to appear on a charge of murder in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court. He faces an additional charge of obstruction of justice.

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