Rousing his housekeeper at around 11 p.m. on APRIL 5th, 1970, Ronald Cohen told her, “Someone has broken in.” There was blood on his shirt, and his beautiful wife Susan was sprawled on the floor of their homes library.
Living in Cape Town, Cohen was a property developer and the son of a South African millionaire. Susan, his second wife, was only half his age and looked after the two children of his first marriage. But now she lay dead, her skull crushed by a heavy object.
In near-hysteria, Cohen told the police that he had found her struggling with an intruder. To fight off the attacker, he said, he had grabbed a bronze statuette. But that was all he could remember.
Bruises and scratches were found on his arms when he was examined by a doctor. Apart from the body on the floor, the library appeared to be undisturbed.
Charged with his wifes murder, at his trial in August 1970 Cohen repeated his claim that he could recall little of what had happened. The judge found it hard to believe that a man would not have fought harder to protect his wife and home.
Nothing was missing from the house, Susan had not been sexually assaulted, and it was suggested that Cohen had lost his self-control and had killed his wife unintentionally in a moment of intense anger. Although he was found guilty as charged, it was accepted that he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the slaying and he was jailed for 12 years.