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Mom stands by son who beheaded teen

Aljar Swartz has been convicted of the gruesome beheading of 15-year-old Lee Adams at an abandoned school. File picture: Brenton Geach

Aljar Swartz has been convicted of the gruesome beheading of 15-year-old Lee Adams at an abandoned school. File picture: Brenton Geach

Published May 3, 2016


Cape Town – The mother of Aljar Swartz, convicted of beheading a Ravensmead teenager in October 2013, has said she will continue to support her son.

Swartz was found guilty in March of stabbing, strangling and finally decapitating 15-year-old Lee Adams in an abandoned school after luring him there under the pretext that they would smoke dagga together.

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At the time, the 17-year-old Swartz planned to sell the teen’s head to a sangoma for R5 000.

Read:  Man who beheaded teen poses high risk: expert

He took the head home in his school bag, hid it in the domestic quarters and then had dinner with his family.

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On Tuesday, a chief forensic psychologist for the police, Major Hayden Knibbs told the court that Swartz had the “personality structure” of a psychopath.

Knibbs compiled a pre-sentencing report for the court, to aid the court in assessing the best possible sentence for Swartz.

He testified that Swartz posed a high risk to society.

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He said the increase in risk for re-offending goes up if there is previous violence, and in the case of Swartz there is a long history of violence that started in primary school.

When he was 15 years old he was convicted of robbing prostitutes at knifepoint and was given a suspended sentence.

Despite six months of anger management and life skills classes, he was “unresponsive to treatment”.

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In almost two hours of Knibbs’s consultation with Swartz, the accused had shown no remorse or empathy for the victim.

Knibbs said he believed he had the traits of a psychopath – charming, manipulative, exaggerated self esteem, promiscuity, and a lack of remorse.

He told the court that Swartz’s relationship with his family had improved since the murder, and this was the one positive factor that could be seen as a decreasing risk facor.

Knibbs said he believed Swartz tried to manipulate him and told him that he had been the one who took care of his mother, in a bid to gain sympathy.

He told the court there was a low chance of rehabilitation, and recommended that his pre-sentencing report be made available to the parole review board when he one day became eligible for parole.

Categorising Swartz as a psychopath, Knibbs warned that psychopaths are excellent manipulators, and “become better manipulators with time”.

Throughout the lengthy testimony, Swartz seemed unmoved, at times he yawned.

His mother, however, appeared to be straining to hear every word of testimony from the public gallery.

She looked exhausted as she left the courthouse.

When asked whether she supported her son, she simply replied: “I’m his mother, what do you expect”.

The case was postponed to May 6 when a probation officer is expected to take the stand.

African News Agency

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