Man who beheaded teen 'possessed, needs exorcism'

2016-03-10 14:09
Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – The man who has admitted to hacking teenager Lee Adams’s head off needs his case reopened because the devil has possessed him, his lawyer told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

''The demons are still busy with him,'' Aljar Swartz’s lawyer Sheriff Mohamed told the flabbergasted prosecutor Carine Teunissen and Judge Elizabeth Steyn.

A Methodist minister was waiting in the wings to expand on an exorcism apparently planned for Swartz.

''He has confided in the priest,'' said Mohamed, indicating Reverend Cecil Begbie, who he described as an internationally renowned exorcist.

The Lansdowne-based clergyman was better known for his work in running a soup kitchen for the hungry. On Thursday, he sat quietly in his blue and white vestments, listening to the argument.

‘A vessel in the hand of the devil’

On February 22, Swartz changed his plea to guilty, admitting that he had strangled 15-year-old Adams at a primary school in Ravensmead on October 17, 2013.

He was supposed to have been sentenced on Thursday. A visibly annoyed Steyn demanded to know why Mohamed had arrived unannounced at her chamber door before court began. She said she refused to speak to him there, telling him to wait until court was in session.

Steyn and Teunissen listened with furrowed brows as Mohamed said the case needed to be reopened.

''The accused was but a vessel and instrument in the hand of the devil,'' said Mohamed.

Steyn demanded to know why he had left it so late and why it was never raised in three psychiatrists' and one psychologist's reports. They all found he was capable of understanding his actions.

Swartz himself had opted not to testify, so Steyn said she could not understand why the information was being presented now.

Acting without instruction from accused

However, Mohamed said this was a new development and the minister, known all over the world for his work, wanted to do an exorcism on Swartz and talk to him some more.

''He is only sleeping three hours a night,'' he said of his client, who sat quietly behind him.

Family members in the public gallery clucked and shifted irritably in their seats at the new development.

It then emerged that Mohamed was making the application without instruction from Swartz. When he tried to walk to Swartz to get an instruction, Steyn stopped him in his tracks.

Mohamed said that was how he operated. He did what he thought was in his clients’ best interests.

Head found in killer’s backyard

The case was eventually postponed to Monday for Mohamed to file a ''proper'' motion by Friday, so that Teunissen could prepare, and to receive instruction from his client.

Mohamed started complaining that with all the work to be done with the exorcism and preparing the motion, that was far too soon. Steyn had none of it and ended the session while he was still in mid-sentence.

According to a statement submitted by Mohamed, Swartz stabbed Adams until he died, and then decapitated him.

"Although I consumed alcohol and dagga during the day of October 17, 2013, I could still appreciate the wrongfulness of my conduct. I was a follower of Satan at the time."

He admitted to inflicting the gruesome injuries detailed in the pathologist's report. They included bruises and abrasions to Adams’s face and neck.

A security guard found Adams's headless corpse at the school. His head was later found in a grave in Swartz's yard. Swartz had apparently invited Adams to smoke dagga with him.

He admitted that a fingerprint found in a bloodstain on a wall at the crime scene belonged to him and that he put a tissue paper containing Adams's blood into a bin in his bedroom.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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