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Man who beheaded teen is remorseless: psychiatrist

Aljar Swartz allegedly beheaded Lee Adams so that he could sell his head to a a sangoma.

Aljar Swartz allegedly beheaded Lee Adams so that he could sell his head to a a sangoma.

Published Apr 28, 2016


Cape Town – Valkenberg forensic psychiatrist Professor Sean Kaliski has testified that the accused in a beheading case has “very strong psychopathic traits”.

Kaliski was on Thursday testifying in aggravation of sentence in the case against 19-year-old Aljar Swartz.

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Swartz was 17-years-old when he murdered Ravensmead teenager Lee Adams in October 2013.

He was last month found guilty of the gruesome beheading at an abandoned school in Cape Town.

Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn also found him guilty of three counts of incitement to commit murder.

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In February, Swartz admitted to strangling the 15-year-old on 17 October, 2013. He then stabbed him numerous times, and finally decapitated him.

A security guard found the body at a school, while the head was later found in a shallow grave buried in the accused’s garden.

It is alleged that Swartz planned to sell the head of his victim to a sangoma for R5,000.

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Kaliski told the Western Cape High Court that Swartz was “clearly not a slave to the truth” as he had at first denied his involvement, then admitted it, and then implicated his friends.

He testified that he had been struck by the “cold calculated planning of something so horrible”.

“It’s like a serial killer who takes a trophy. This is a sign of psychopathy.”

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Swartz, he said, had been “capable of remorselessly planning something terrible”.

Kaliski said Swartz had strong psychopathic traits which included superficial charm, a lack of close relationships, and remorselessness.

He said psychophaths had varying degrees of psychopathy and even some successful CEOs have psychopathic traits.

Kaliski used the example of a Barclays director who had worked for twelve years in the company despite having zero qualifications.

“Current research suggests psychopaths are born”, he told the court.

He said they start to show signs from the age of four yaars old,”you can see it on the playground”.

Kaliski said Swartz had been the only one of his siblings to turn out the way he did, despite coming from a very good, religious family.

He told the court that psychopaths did not respond well to rehabilitation as it is “very much rudimentary”.

“They learn how to become better psychopaths”.

Kaliski said he believed Swartz had been a mature 17-year-old when he committed the murder: “An immature person is impulsive, but he was considered and calculating which indicates maturity.”

He also testified that Swartz had been very unaffected by what must have been an “horrendous scene”.

Swartz himself took the stand to testify in mitigation of sentence.

He told the court he was a Christian, and saw a spiritual worker at Pollsmoor prison every week.

He said he had become a satanist when he was about 14 years old.

His parents had divorced when he was about 11 years old, and he told the court he had many friends in high school.

Earlier, Methodist Reverend Cecil Begbie told the court that special collective prayers directed towards Pollsmoor prison had succesfully freed Swartz of the demons that made him commit murder.

The public gallery was packed with the victim’s relatives, many dressed in purple, his favourite colour.

Swartz is expected to continue his testimony on Friday.

African News Agency

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