Accused in Cape Town beheading case poses high risk: Forensic psychologist

Accused in Cape Town beheading case poses high risk: Forensic psychologist
Aljar Swartz. Photo:

CAPE TOWN – A police chief forensic psychologist has told the Western Cape High Court that the man found guilty of beheading a Cape Town teenager, poses a high risk to society.

Major Hayden Knibbs compiled a pre-sentencing report to assess the best possible sentence for Aljar Swartz, who in March was convicted of the premeditated murder of a Ravensmead teenager.

Swartz admitted to luring his 15-year-old friend, Lee Adams, to an abandoned school under the pretext that they would smoke dagga (marijuana) there. He then stabbed him numerous times, strangled him, and finally decapitated him.

Knibbs testified on Thursday that perpetrators of criminal mutilation were often psychopaths.

He described the murder as an “atypical muti murder”, motivated by greed. Swartz planned to sell Adams’ severed head to a sangoma for R5,000.

Knibbs told the court that Swartz had told him that when he started stabbing his victim, the teenager kept asking him why he was doing it, and had said he “didn’t know him like this”.

The victim had tried to push him away, but Swartz had been stronger than him and had used a piece of wire to strangle him.

After decapitating him, Swartz told Knibbs he took the head home in a bag and hid it in the domestic quarters. He then ate dinner with his family.

The forensic psychologist said the crime had been described with blunted emotion and was communicated in “a matter of fact way with very little emotional expression”.

Knibbs told the court that during his interview with Swartz the accused had been manipulative and had tried to gain sympathy.

He had shown no remorse or empathy, but had tried to shift the blame away from himself by suggesting that it was his friends who had identified the victim and the location where he should be murdered.

Knibbs said he posed a high risk for re-offending and had a long history of previous violence.

He had been convicted of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances when he was 15-years-old and had been given a suspended sentence.

Despite six months of anger management, and six months of being taught life skills, he had been unresponsive to treatment.

He further testified there was little chance of rehabilitation in Swartz’s case and recommended his sentencing report be made available when a parole board one day reviews the case.

Categorising Swartz as a psychopath, he said he was an excellent manipulator.

He dismissed earlier testimony from Reverend Cecil Begbie who told the court that Swartz had been possessed by demons, but had since become Christian.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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