The state has countered the evidence of a pathologist hired by Jason Rohde’s defence with the prosecution’s own forensic pathologist, Dr Deidre Abrahams, who told the court she believed Jason’s wife, Susan, died a painful death, the Cape Argus reports.
The state believes Rohde murdered his wife and covered up the murder by attempting to make it appear a suicide. The defence claims Susan Rohde hanged herself following her discovery of the extramarital affair her husband had with colleague Jolene Alterskye.
Abrahams said Susan must have been swallowing blood and battling to breathe after she sustained severe blunt force trauma to her ribs.
This contradicts the evidence given by a forensic pathologist brought by the defence, Dr Izak Loftus.
Loftus said that based on photographs taken at both autopsy examinations – one by state pathologist Dr Akmal Khan and another by defence pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal – there was pathological evidence in support of hanging as the cause of death.
“I don’t have any doubt in making that statement. But I cannot exclude other causes of injuries to the neck, although I believe the most probable cause of death was death by hanging.”
Loftus continued: “When I look at the deceased’s lung, there is no indication that her respiratory function was compromised before death.”
He said he only saw bruises on the edge of Susan’s lungs, which could have been sustained through compressions.
In Jason’s version, he had performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Susan.
Loftus also questioned whether faecal matter found at the entry of the bathroom, the entry of the hotel room they were staying in and next to the body, was human.
“I must say it is very difficult for me to comment on it. I don’t know whether it was analysed and confirmed as human faecal matter,” he said.
Loftus will be cross-examined by a state prosecutor on August 6. The trial has been remanded until then.