Maspero is fit to stand trial, panel says
Cape Town - The only memory Kyle Maspero has of the days surrounding the murder of his girlfriend’s mother is standing in a hole, with a sheet lying beside him.
This emerged in a report submitted to the Western Cape High Court on Friday, compiled by a panel of experts, after Maspero was refer-red to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for observation.
Maspero wanted to plead guilty to the murder of Clovelly mother Rosemary Theron but the State rejected his version of events after he claimed he could not recall material aspects.
His lawyer William da Grass told the court at the time his loss of memory was the result of protracted drug use.
But, after observing Maspero for 30 days, the panel concluded his inability to recall the events was “not due to any psychiatric or pathological cause” and found him fit to stand trial.
The defence did not dispute the findings of the panel, which comprised forensic psychiatrists Professor Sean Kaliski and Professor Tuviah Zabow, as well as specialist psychiatrist Dr Claudia de Clercq.
In the report, it emerged Maspero claims to have had amnesia for about five days.
“The weekend before the offence he felt ill, could not sleep and had lost his appetite. He claimed to have amnesia for the succeeding few days. His next memory was of standing in a hole with a sheet lying next to him. Subsequently, he was able to function normally and was able to provide a good account of his actions,” the report said.
Maspero told the psychiatrists there was conflict in his relationship with Theron – “apparently as she objected that he took to cleaning her house”.
He had been dating Theron’s daughter, Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron, who is serving an effective 15 years in jail after she pleaded guilty to the killing and implicated Maspero.
The report said the pair met in Knysna when Maspero was 14 years old and started dating seriously three years later.
Details of Maspero’s background revealed that he had a difficult childhood.
He grew up in Sedgefield and has an older brother and sister. His parents divorced when he was a baby and his grandmother cared for him for about three years because his mother led an “unstable lifestyle”. He had minimal contact with his father.
His mother died when he was 7 and he was adopted by her boyfriend. When he was 10 years old, he was sent to live with his aunt in Joburg after starting a fire at a neighbour’s house.
There, his school work deteriorated and he started to display abnormal behaviour.
He was served with 11 formal disciplinary charge sheets, mostly for stealing, and was counselled by a teacher and treated by a child psychiatrist and a family therapist.
Maspero later returned to Knysna to live with his brother and enrolled in a school there.
But he was kicked out after testing positive for dagga and tik. He asked to leave two additional schools for drug use. He later started selling tik and dagga, which he also smoked.
At a stage, Maspero and Phoenix moved to Cape Town, where she fell pregnant and had an abortion.
Maspero underwent an occupational therapy assessment during his observation, which found there were no problems with his functioning and memory, the report said.
The panel found him not mentally ill, fit to stand trial, not certifiable in terms of the Mental Health Care Act and able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.
The case was postponed to October 5. Maspero has to remain under house arrest and under the supervision of a probation officer.