According to a former colleague of Jason Rohde, who was present at Spier hotel when Rohde’s wife Susan was found dead in 2016, the investigating officer asked for a drink of Blue Label whisky after arriving at his home to take a statement in the morning.
Brendan Miller, who heads up the Atlantic Seaboard area for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says he asked Sergeant Marlon Appolis to meet him at his home in Fresnaye at the time rather than his office, which was a “bit tense”, with police walking in and out.
Brendan Miller said he had recommended that Sergeant Marlon Appollis come to his home in Fresnaye at the time as it was “a bit tense” at the office with police walking in and out.
Miller says some time after Susan Rohde’s body was discovered, Appollis visited him at his office, where he saw the Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky Miller keeps for clients and asked if he also had a bottle at home.
Later, when Appollis arrived at his home with two other officers to take a statement at around 11:00, he claims the sergeant drank the premium whisky rather than accepting the coffee or tea that was offered.
“We offered anyone tea or coffee. The sergeant had a whisky. He asked where the Blue Label whisky was.”
After an adjournment, prosecutor Louis van Niekerk said he had spoken to Appollis, who confirmed that he had seen the whisky and asked for some.On being asked how much Appollis drank, Miller said it was a “full tot.”
“He had a tot of whisky. Neat as I recall. He had the full tot. He had it before taking my statement,” said Miller.
Miller was cross examined on what transpired on the night before Susan was found dead in the hotel room she shared with her husband on Wednesday.Susan’s body was found hanging by her neck by an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door on July 24, 2016.
The State has argued that Jason Rohde murdered his wife and staged her suicide, while the defence insists the tragedy was a suicide.
Miller told the court that he left the company function on the night before Susan Rohde’s death a little bit earlier and went to the hotel’s middle bar and had few drinks before he left with a colleague back to his room.
“And we were sitting having a glass of wine and Jolene Alterskye arrived, we were there for a couple of minutes and Jason Rohde arrived, followed a few seconds later by Susan Rohde,” the court heard.
Cape Town estate agent Alterskye was Jason Rohde’s mistress who was also at the conference.
“He (Jason) walked in and he sat down on the bed closest to the bathroom. To my recollection, he and Susan walked in at the same time and she kinda walked halfway down the passage and called on Jason. I offered Jason a drink, he said ‘yes’ and he sat down. She just repeated saying ‘Jason, Jason’ and he got up and left,” said Miller.
Asked by defence Advocate Graham van der Spuy to tell the court if he had witnessed any physical contact between Susan and her husband in the room, Miller replied: “No, not at all.”
Further asked by Advocate Van der Spuy if he could recall the atmosphere in the room at that moment, he said “it was a bit awkward and everybody was quiet” because they never expected Jason Rohde and Alterskye to come to the room after there had been speculation about their affair.
He told the court that he had sent Jason Rohde a message to find out if he was “okay” after he left with his wife, and got a reply after seven in the morning saying: “Drama, but okay.”