Prayers have removed demons from man who beheaded teen - reverend

2016-04-28 12:43
Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – Special prayers directed at Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town cleansed convicted killer Aljar Swartz of his demons, a reverend told the Western Cape High Court during sentencing proceedings on Thursday.

"There was a day when I engaged in special prayers for him, where I invited the congregation [in Rondevlei] to stand and to raise their hands towards Pollsmoor Prison and we all then united in prayer, not only for Aljar, but for all inmates of Pollsmoor Prison, including the staff as well," Methodist Reverend Cecil Begbie told the court.

Speaking during arguments in mitigation of sentence, he said he had met Swartz about five times and it was clear that he was demon-possessed.

Swartz was recently found guilty of the premeditated murder of 15-year-old Lee Adams, as well as three counts of incitement to commit murder.

He admitted to beheading the teenager in 2013 so he could sell the body parts to a sangoma. 

Pollsmoor Prison turned down Begbie's application to perform an exorcism. The defence would have filmed it.

Begbie, who had been a minister for almost 50 years, said he was left with no other option but to call upon congregations and the international community to pray for Swartz.

A radical change had then taken place in Swartz, he said.

Relatives of Adams, dressed in the teen’s favourite colour purple, shook their heads at the testimony.

Swartz apparently shared a "very special experience" with the reverend when he visited him in cells at the high court.

"There was a moment about three weeks ago when he felt as though he was standing under a waterfall and pure clean water flowed through his whole body and after that experience. He felt he was totally set free of all demons," said Begbie.

"That means the almighty God, who is not restricted to walls of prisons or prison bars, actually administered to him supernaturally as a result of all prayers. I could also then sense that, yes, there was a radical change in Aljar."

Swartz was able to sleep properly for the first time in years. He experienced tremendous peace of heart and mind, Begbie said.

Prior to this experience, a spiritual counsellor at the prison had led Swartz "to accept Christ".

After seeing him this week, Swartz told him he wanted to apologise to Adams’ family, his school and the court.

Listening to Begbie, Swartz stroked his beard and appeared unmoved.

Judge Elize Steyn told Swartz's lawyer, Sheriff Mohamed, that she was not going to allow him to lead evidence on "magic, witchcraft and all other things".

"How many times in South African law has the court allowed 'the devil made me do it?' The court has never accepted it."

She said she would make a note that it was Begbie's view that Swartz was no longer possessed by demons.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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