This Oscar’s news is competing with that of the Oscars. As Oscar Pistorius appears in a South African court, charged with the murder of his model girlfriend, the international press has gone into a frenzy. The murder of the famous model in the double amputee’s home has captured the imagination and reams of paper in the South African press. Tabloids and broadsheets across the world have no less tried to tear into the whodunnit plot. News and celebrity websites are full of the “blade runner’s” incessant sobbing in the courtroom and his written rebuttal of the charge of premeditated murder read out in the Pretoria courtroom.
Pistorius, the celebrated runner who scorched the London Olympics track last year in his carbon composite prosthetic legs, has been accused of shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day. As the court proceedings unfold, the case has started to sound more and more like the plot of a John Grisham novel. Witness accounts detail how the two were involved in a shouting match on the night of the incident. A neighbour apparently heard screams from Pistorius’ home in a gated community. However on sustained grilling by the defence counsel, the witness’ deposition didn’t stand.
As if the intriguing plot were not enough to lend sufficient spookiness to the case, news broke out yesterday that the cop leading the investigation faces charges on seven counts of attempted murder. Detective Hilton Botha is accused of firing on a busful of passengers in 2011. However, Botha was taken off the case yesterday after authorities came under fire over his stained record. This lends another dimension to a courtroom saga that has the trappings of crime caught in the web of celebritydom with a dose of romance, guile and glamour.
Pistorius denies the charge of premeditated murder. His alibi is interesting. The double amputee claims that he woke up in the night to sounds from the bathroom and suspected that a burglar was inside since the windows did not have bars and repair workers had left a ladder nearby. He says he did not realise that Steenkamp was not in bed; feeling nervous in the dark and without his prosthetic legs, he into the door. Steenkamp was hit on the head and hip and collapsed. The prosecution contends that the paralympic champion fired into the door knowing that his girlfriend was inside, as it says, he wanted to kill her.
It seems there is more to the incident than meets the eye. A missing link—in the form of a person, object or activity — likely to surface as the case progresses, can throw light on why a glamorous woman became a victim in the house of a celebrity athlete. Till then, one has to waffle between the prosecution’s argument and Pistorius’ alibi—that he failed to realise Steenkamp was in bed, which sounds incredulous•