'Pure greed' more probable than satanism in teen beheading – officer

2016-02-17 19:20


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Cape Town – The beheading of a Ravensmead teenager was more likely done out of "pure greed" for muti than as part of a satanic ritual, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Carine Theunissen said the evidence before the court was that the reason why 15-year-old Lee Adams was beheaded was to sell a body part, or just the head, to sangomas for muti.

Testifying for the State, fingerprint expert Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker said he agreed with this scenario.

He said there was no doubt that bloody fingerprints found at the crime scene matched those of the accused, Aljar Swartz.

Swartz is on trial for the murder of Adams in October 2013.

The marks were on a wall at an abandoned school in Ravensmead, Cape Town, where a security guard found the boy’s body. The head was later found in a shallow grave in Swartz’s yard.

Swartz’s lawyer, Sheriff Mohamed, asked if Bekker agreed that a blood mark looked like a bird or bird's beak. He said the question was relevant because there was a theory that the beheading could have been a satanic, ritualistic sacrifice.

No signs of ritual satanism

Bekker looked at the photos and said: "I suppose if you turn it, yes, I can see what is being asked."

He disagreed that a face was visible in the blood marks. Visibly uncomfortable, Bekker said he was sure a more qualified expert could answer the questions. 

The court indulged the defence and asked for his insight because he had done a course in psychologically motivated crimes.

"I haven’t identified any signage or props that indicate a ritual with satanism," he told the court, after looking at crime scene photos during a tea break.

Had it been a ritual, the body would have been washed and presented. "In this case, it seems to me the head was purely cut off."

He said the resemblance of the blood mark to a bird's beak was "purely accidental" and looked as though it was caused by a blood-soaked shoulder rubbing against the wall.

Bekker said he was trained to recognise, document and predict aspects of cult and satanic crimes, not interpret them.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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