Cape Town – A Cape Town man has told the Western Cape High Court he felt “outside influences” urging him to commit the murder of a Ravensmead teenager in 2013.
Aljar Swartz has been convicted of the gruesome beheading of 15-year-old Lee Adams at an abandoned school.
In March, the court found that he had been motivated by financial greed as he planned to sell the head to a sangoma for R5 000.
Swartz was just 17 years old at the time and had lured his friend to Florida Primary under the pretext that they would smoke dagga there.
On Tuesday, he told the court during sentencing proceedings that he had read about albinos in Africa being hunted for body parts, and that had given him the idea to behead Adams.
He testified that he had asked two black men who he could sell the head to, but they didn’t know of a sangoma who would buy it.
Despite this, he went ahead with his plan and told the court that he felt “far away” while committing the murder.
He testified that it hadn’t been a “satanistic killing”, but that he had had an urge inside him telling him to do it.
Major Hayden Nibbs, a chief police forensic psychologist, testified that perpetrators of criminal mutilation are often psychopaths.
He compiled a pre-sentencing report to evaluate the level of risk Swartz posed to society and to aid the court in determining the best sentence for the accused.
Nibbs said the beheading fitted into the concept of a “muti murder”.
“Typically, a client would approach a traditional practitioner with a specific request, then the sangoma would decide what is required, and if certain body parts were needed for the muti. That request would then be taken to a third party, who would commit the murder or murders.”
He told the court the victim would need to be alive and screaming during the removal of body parts, so that “more energy goes into the body part”.
However, in Swartz’s case it was an atypical muti murder, as there had been no sangoma, no client, and no specific body part requested.
He said Swartz fell into the category of being a psychopath as he showed a lack of empathy, a lack or remorse, and lied easily.
He warned that failed attempts at treatment could result in psychopaths becoming even worse: “They usually learn how to become better psychopaths”.African News Agency