Sunday, 17 February 2013

What we know about Oscar Pistorius. And what we don't

Reeva and friends, retweeted on twitter by Francois Hougaard

There is a thin but comforting line between sport and news. This week, for obvious reasons, the vibrant world of goals, trophies and fans was rudely interrupted by the sound of gunfire.

Oscar Pistorius, the first amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics in London this year, is one of South Africa’s few globally recognised sporting stars. The news that he had shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp simply shook the world we live in, turned sport upside-down.

Yes, Popes resign, meteorites flash across Russian skies, trains crash… and sport carries glibly on, reporting on Robin van Persie versus Cristiano Ronaldo, South Africa v Pakistan… even Bafana Bafana v Mali despite the war raging around Timbuktu.

But Oscar impinges. He is a genuine sporting hero. Loved by all for his tenacity in the face of being born with no shin bones, his ability to lead an superstar sporting life while most others would retire to a wheelchair and self-pity.

How do we cope when a star of that magnitude appears to be crashing and burning?

The initial tale – picked up wholeheartedly by the Oscar-sympathetic newspapers – suggested he had mistaken the beautiful Reeva for an intruder in his high-security estate. Tragic but accidental.

But once details from unnamed police sources emerged, that theory appeared to fall apart. By Sunday morning, we had suggestions of blood in the bedroom, a shot fired, a cricket bat used… and a frightened woman hiding in the bathroom. Then four bullets through the door.

Two of those bullets hit Reeva in the head. She did not die instantly. Lurid eye-witness reports suggest Oscar tried to resuscitate his girlfriend – though why he called a mutual friend rather than the emergency services to report the incident remain unexplained.

All we can say with any confidence before Oscar’s return to court on Tuesday is that he pulled the trigger, he - and he alone - killed the woman he called “baba”.

With former Sun editor Stuart Higgins arriving to provide “positive spin” to his heavyweight legal team, we read of Oscar’s father Henke telling the UK Sunday Telegraph: “Crime is endemic in South Africa. When you see somebody in your house, you shoot.”

He went on to explain how “Oscar grew up hunting, my sons grew up with guns” and he said Oscar's action were "instinctive - and sportsmen react to instinct" but that hardly explains the need for small arms in a secure estate – or why Oscar had SEVEN more gun licences pending.

It doesn’t explain recent incidents involving the police where Oscar had lost his cool with so-called “love rivals” Quinton van den Bergh and Francois Hougaard.

As journalists – even sports journalists – we are trained not to pre-judge issues until all the facts come to light. In this case, we must attempt to stick to that creed.

But it’s damned difficult.

I’ve spoken to a lad who went to Constantia Primary with Oscar. He says, disabled or not, Pistorius was a bully. That he was cock of the walk at Pretoria Boy’s High. That he was, predictably for a sporting celebrity, surrounded by sycophantic yes men who let him act as he pleased.

The more recent of the many women in his life suggest he was not the most chivalrous of men. Others talk of his parents' divorce, his mother's death. A bloke who, for all his talent, went the way of so many top sportsmen... down the road of arrogance, shagging and insecurity

And always, in the background, the beautiful Reeva, loved by all. Gone.

Given recent cases – Shrien Dewani and Nico Henning spring to mind, just have a look on Google – it’s hard to believe in justice for the well-off and famous. But we must. On Tuesday, let’s hear what forensics have to say. If today's police leaks were accurate. How Oscar’s legal team explain away the shooting of multiple bullets at an apparently defenceless woman.

And hope that justice is done.

This story will appear as my Neal and Pray column in on Tuesday.


  1. Impetuous spoilt brat, having beefed up his legal team Oscar won't plead guilty. The state won't show mercy, he's finished

  2. What gun has he used? How thick was the bathroom door? How do you know she was sitting scared behind a bathroom door? Are you making presumptions?
    May I remind you what happened in Martin Zimmerman case of presumptions

  3. He used a 9mm on the door. Four times. The only presumption I'm making is that he pulled the trigger. Like everyone else. I accept lawyers don't like journalists but given the lack of justice seen to be done in the cases of Shrien Dewani and Nico Henning...

  4. Why did Oscar kill me?

    I gave him my pussy ....

    1. You stupid shit. Not funny.

    2. You are full of shit, who ever you are! You have no respect! Fucking cunt!

    3. respect for what ? a stupid spoiled brat who killed a monkey

  5. Went to school with him. Have too say that he was a bit of a "cunt". Always acted like a spoilt brat cos he knew that no one would give him a beating because of his condition.

  6. I believe the bloody cricket bat could be key to this saga.
    If it's Reeva's blood, then I would love to see what defence Oscar's "team" comes up with.

  7. I agree with this, but it's not hard to believe a South African would have a gun despite living in a secure estate. That's what a lot of foreigners don't get.

  8. I live on a secure estate and I still have 2 firearms and I still don't feel safe.

  9. if the door to the bathroom was locked, why didn't he call out first "who's there?" normally if your girlfriend is at home it would be her in the bathroom?
    this is very obviously another case of femicide

  10. I know someone who went to both primary and high school with him, and he also maintains that he was a bully, generally unliked by all

  11. Thanks for this post is very informative and interesting.all the points are very useful. Simple but very effective writing. Thanks for sharing such a nice post.

    Divorce Attorneys Johannesburg