Did you buy Pistorius’ ‘mistook girlfriend for burglar’ story?

By Suyash Srivastava | Updated: Feb 22, 2013, 16:18 PM IST

“They were deeply in love,” is what Pistorius’ friends had to say about The Blade Runner’s relationship with Reeva Steenkamp. They say love is blind. And it proved to be true as the Paralympian superstar went so blind on Valentine’s Day, that in order to save himself and his model girlfriend from an intruder, he shot her four times while she was inside the bathroom.

In what could be a perfect thriller flick, Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend’s murder mystery remains unsolved. While the investigating officer Hilton Botha, who has 16 years` experience as a detective and 24 years with the police, presented his testimony which had several flaws on Day 2 of the hearing, Pistorius made sure he flooded the court in Pretoria with tears.

In a short reminder of the proceedings, the double-amputee Olympian is charged with premeditated murder in the case.

To begin with, there are a few major queries on the basis of which the accused should be denied bail.

Pistorius initially said he keeps a 9mm pistol under his bed because he had received death threats in the past. While returning from the balcony, Pistorius felt the presence of an intruder in the bathroom. While he went through a ‘sense of terror’, however dark it was, didn’t he think it was necessary to see if his girlfriend was safe? After all, it was impossible for him to reach the bathroom without passing the bedroom. All he thought was - take his gun, remain silent and go for the kill?

For a second, we accept that he didn’t notice it for the first time whether Reeva was on bed or not. But then he reached the bed to pull out the gun, and to say that even then it didn’t strike his mind to check whether she was there is something which is unbelievable. The first thing anybody would do in such a case is to see whether or not the other members in the house are safe or reach them to inform them about a ‘burglar being inside the house’.

Moreover, see the timing. The burglar kept himself locked inside the bathroom for long, waiting for Pistorius to get up and close the sliding door, and immediately realise someone was there. Because had he said that he went straight away from the bed to the bathroom, it would have been extremely difficult for him to explain why didn`t he see if Reeva was safe, as she was sleeping next to him! Pistorius testified yesterday that the bedroom was pitch dark. But the darkness remained only for him not being able to see his girlfriend, when he needed to pull out the gun and walk all the way to the bathroom, wasn’t it ‘pitch dark’?

Defence lawyer Barry Roux suggested that Steenkamp had locked the toilet door when Pistorius had yelled that there was an intruder in the house. And even investigating officer Botha agreed that had he been in her place, he would have done the same after he heard Oscar shouting to call police. But since Steenkamp wasn’t dumb, she could have easily asked what the matter was, the moment she heard Pistorius talking about the burglar.

Something which still hasn’t been brought into the picture is the fact that where does Pistorius keep his prosthetic legs? Because according to his statement, while he shot four times through the door, he wasn’t wearing them. The prosecution has however said that the trajectory shows that bullets were fired from top to bottom. The point is, if he felt so vulnerable, he would have first worn his legs before going to shoot. The moment we come to know the location where he keeps his artificial legs, Pistorius can be grilled further.

Another controversial point to be noticed is that the prosecution needs to see the size of the windows attached with the bathroom. And in case if it is big enough for a burglar to pass through, what is the support that could help him reach there. The reports so far have said the ladders were found outside the house as the house was being painted but they were not next to the bathroom window as the defence suggested.

Throughout the incident, Pistorius has nowhere mentioned Reeva Steenkamp speaking a word. It is an incident which is narrated entirely by him. A common man’s perspective might differ, but in that ‘state of terror’, one would expect several reactions from her as well. With her being no more, we have nothing left but to hear the entire episode from Pistorius.

I would say that the investigating officer Botha has weakened the case for the prosecution. On Day 2 of the bail plea hearing, Botha came up with several claims against Pistorius but once he was finished, an extremely confident and aggressive Roux dismantled them as he had no proofs to back his statements. He went unprepared which was the reason why he found himself stuttering in the court, reducing the worries for Pistorius and his family.

Who would want to lose millions? The paralympian’s affidavit said he earns 5.6 million rand ($630,000) a year, has investments of 1 million rand and property worth more than 8 million rand. While he continues to sob, it is quite possible that Pistorius isn’t crying for his deceased girlfriend, but for the fact that all that money is at stake. The main sponsors have already started dropping him from their deals. So the moment Pistorius realised his girlfriend was dead, he was shocked as he realized, with this crime, he had lost all those endorsement deals, and of course his reputation. The love story that lasted for four months, ended with four shots.