Friday, 1 December 2017

PISTORIUS: Did he really murder his girlfriend?

Before I give you my opinion about the shooting of Pistorius’ girlfriend, I want to tell you about my own training and investigative experiences. I attended the University of Toronto in the early 1970s for five years. I studied criminology, abnormal psychology, criminal law for two years and forensic sciences. I was also a private investigator for many years and I investigated murder cases in which I found evidence that the police missed that cleared two of my clients of murder. For twenty years, I also represented clients in courts in 12 different cities in southern Ontario in which many of my clients were charged with serious crimes. And now I will give you my opinion about the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by Pristorius.

The shooting to death of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius in his home in Pretoria, South Africa had millions of television viewers around the world, tied to their TV sets.

Pistorius is a Caucasian and at the time of the shooting, he was 26 years of age. There isn’t any doubt that he shot her to death on February 14, 2012 (Valentines Day) while she was kneeling behind the locked door of the toilet stall in the bathroom near their bedroom. He admitted that her shot her. What is in question is whether or not the shooting was a mistaken shooting on his part—him thinking that it was an intruder inside the stall or alternatively, he in a fit of anger went into the bathroom and purposely shot her four times through the locked door of the toilet stall with the intention of killing her.

The known facts of about this case

Pistorius is a world famous Paralympic who had to have his legs removed below his knees when he was a very small child and has been for a number of years, walking and running on his prosthetic legs that are curved at the bottom which gives him the spring he needs to be able to walk normally. Since he was a a former South African sprint runner, with these blades, he was extremely fast and won many awards in Paralympic competitions.Reeva Steenkamp was a Caucasian, South American citizen and was 29 years of age when she was killed. She was both a paralegal, a model and her face was on the cover of a magazine because she was also a beautiful woman. On the night of her death, she had been sleeping with Pistorius in his bed.


Description of the area of the murder scene 

I will give you a description of his bedroom, the hallway leading to the bathroom, the bathroom and the stall with the toilet inside of it as if it was you who was lying in his bed instead of him and the victim.

If you wanted to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, you would walk to the foot of the bed, then turn right to walk past the four closets on your right until you reached a small hallway (without a door) that led you as you turn right, directly into the bathroom (that also doesn’t have a door). When you reach the centre of the bathroom, ahead of you are three windows and to your left in the corner of the wall where the windows are placed, is an oval-shaped bathtub and on your right is the toilet stall which has a door which can be locked from the inside. The reason why the stall can be locked is there is no door leading to the bathroom so anyone entering the bathroom for some other reason, won’t see inside the stall when there is someone else sitting on the toilet. Next to the stall on your right is an enclosed shower.

Pistorius’ explanation as to what happened 

Pistorius had spent a quiet night with Ms. Steenkamp at his luxury home in a secure estate on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa.  She had arrived early in the evening with a Valentine’s gift and the couple had enjoyed a normal evening in which she did some yoga while he watched television.  Later they both turned in for the night. And now I will tell you what Pistorius says happened at the moments of the shooting.

1.      He said that he heard a noise coming from the bathroom and he believed that it was an intruder who had climbed through one of the three windows in the bathroom.

There would be no reason for an intruder to climb through an open window because according to Pristorius`testimony, he went on to the balcony to bring a fan in and close the sliding doors, blinds and curtains behind him. The intruder, (if there was an intruder) would have simply walked from the balcony and into the bathroom via the open sliding door.

2.   He said he grabbed his 9 mm pistol from under his bed and moved towards the bathroom without his prosthetic legs. Pistorius claimed that when he arrived in the bathroom, he thought his girlfriend was still in the bedroom where she could call the police.

3.  Why didn’t he reach over to her while he was still in their bed and wake her up and then tell her quietly that he thought that an intruder was in the bathroom?

4. He said in his testimony that he was dragging himself on the floor  towards the bathroom (since he didn’t put on his prosthetic legs)  believing that there really was an intruder in the bathroom. Instead of calling the police while he was in the bedroom, he chose to crawl out of the bedroom and while doing that, he spoke  quietly to Ms. Steenkamp to call the police. It is highly unlikely that she could have heard him if she was still asleep in their bed and he was crawling out of the bedroom.  

3.    He said that he was too scared to turn on the light in his bedroom.

That is a ridiculous statement. If he didn’t want the alleged intruder to be warned that someone was awake, the noise from him dragging himself along the floor while approaching the bathroom would certainly alert the intruder that he better leave the way he came into the bathroom via the opened sliding door.

Armed robberies are quite prevalent in South Africa and any intruder with any semblance of a working brain would probably believe that a homeowner in a luxurious home will probably  have a gun in his home.


4.     He said that all the time he was dragging himself along the floor towards the bathroom, he was yelling at the so-called intruder and telling him to get out of the house. When he got into the bathroom, he didn’t switch on the bathroom lights. He couldn’t since he didn’t have his prosthetic legs on at that time and he wasn’t walking on the stubs of his legs when he entered the bathroom since he was supposedly crawling into the bathroom on his belly.   

Why would he drag himself along the floor when he is known to be able to walk quite easily on the stumps of his two legs? And that being so; he would have no problem walking into the bathroom.  Further, if there was an intruder in the bathroom, he would be facing the intruder while standing up rather than lying on his belly.


Since he was willing to scream at the so-called intruder, why didn’t he also scream a warning to Ms. Steenkamp whom he said he believed was still in the bed asleep? Since she was actually in the toilet stall in the bathroom, I believe that she did tell him that it was she who was in the closed toilet stall. She would make that declaration because she knew that Pistorius owned a pistol. What puzzles me is the following question that comes to mind—why then didn’t she tell him that it was she who was in the stall taking a pee when he called out? I don’t believe that she was in the stall taking a pee. I believe that she ran into the bathroom and locked herself in the toilet stall to protect herself from Pristorius. I believe that she was running from him because he was known as a violent man and something he said or did scared her and that is why the stall door was closed and locked.  Considering that the light wasn’t on, begs the next question—why didn’t she turn on the bathroom light when she entered the bathroom?  It is my belief that she was afraid of him assaulting her and figured that in the darkness and crawling after her, she would be safer. 5.     Pistorius said he saw that the window closest to the toilet stall was open. The others were closed. How could he see the condition of the windows when he hadn’t turned on the light in the bathroom because he was too frightened to do so since he thought that an intruder was in the bathroom stall? Why would he be concerned about a possible intruder having come through the window because he had earlier brought two fans into the house from the balcony and he left the sliding door open and the window open so that cool air would enter the upper floor of his house.   

He made that phony statement so that the police investigators  would believe that he thought someone else had entered the bathroom via that particular window.

Further, since the bathroom was in complete darkness, how would an intruder find his way to the toilet stall? And if he was in the stall, why would he lock himself in the stall knowing that people living in luxurious home are armed?  He would instead flee from the bathroom via the open sliding door, climb over the railing of the balcony and climbed down one of the ladders that had previously been left on the ground by workmen working on Pistorius’ house.

 6.      He said that he heard a noise from inside the toilet stall. Why didn’t he order the person inside the stall to come out with his or her hands in the air? After all, he had a handgun in his hand.   Ballistics expert, Captain Christiaan Mangena told the court he believed Ms. Steenkamp was standing up in the toilet cubicle, facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip. The expert testified that Ms. Steenkamp then fell back onto a magazine rack next to the toilet before three more bullets were fired through the door.  One bullet missed her and ricocheted off the wall twice. Capt. Mangena said that fragments from that particular  bullet caused the bruising on Ms. Steenkamp's back.   The expert said that Ms. Steenkamp was then hit by two more shots in which one struck her in her arm and the other went through her left hand into her skull as she crossed her arms over her head to protect herself. Mangena said that after being hit in the head, she fell down and her head ended up on the toilet seat. He said the gun had been fired from at least 60 millimetres  (23 inches) from the door and no further than 3mmillimeres. He added that Mr. Pistorius was most likely not wearing his prosthetic legs at the time. That means that he was standing on the stumps of his legs. Ms. Steenkamp’s wounds were on the right hand side of her body. That indicated that she was not sitting on the toilet when she was shot, but was actually standing on the floor in front of the toilet. If Steenkamp was sitting on the toilet and heard Pistorius shout out, as he claimed, she would have called out to him. I think she did.  Who in his or right mind would remain silent when the person outside the stall threatened whoever was inside the stall—especially if it was his girlfriend that was in the stall?  Why did she lock the stall door?  I believe that she had tried to escape from Pistorius thinking that he was going to assault her.


Samantha Taylor, a former girlfriend told ABC News, Matt Gutman in an interview for 20/20 that when she lived with Pistorius he, was a violent man and she was afraid of him. Is it not conceivable that Pistorius also acted violently with Ms. Steenkamp that fatal night and the only place she could get away from him would be to get in the toilet stall and lock the door behind her?

 It was then that he shot her to kill her. Why do I have this opinion of the shooting?  I have seen the picture of the door to the stall. There is a bullet hole on the lower left side of the door. It is only 12 inches from the floor. If she was sitting on the toilet, the bullet would have hit her lower right shin and not hit her right thigh. The stall is too narrow for her to stretch out. This means that while she was standing on the floor facing the left side of the stall, he fired a shot at the left side of the door facing him hitting her right thigh.  She would have then fallen on her hands and knees.

She no doubt screamed in pain. He now knew who was in the stall and since her voice emanated from the lower right side of the door facing him; he fired three more shots at that part of the door. The first one was in the lower center of the door and the remaining two were fired in the lower right part of the door that was facing him so that the bullets would strike her head. How did he know she was on her hands and knees and facing that side of the stall? Her voice emanated from the lower right side of the door facing him. This is evidence that he deliberately shot her to kill her—an act that constituted premeditated murder. 


7.      At the same time (as he claims) he thought Steenkamp was still lying in his bed so he called out to her and told her to call the police. As we all know, she wasn’t in the bed. She was dying in the toilet stall. He would have known that from her screams emanating from the stall.

 Here is an interesting question for you. When he first heard a noise coming from the bathroom as he claimed, why didn’t he reach over and wake up his sweetheart? If he had reached over to her side of the bed and noticed that she wasn’t in the bed, he then would have realize that it must have been her who was in the bathroom.

 8. After he shot her, he then began crawling out of the bathroom while keeping his eyes on the stall thinking that a intruder was in the stall, or so he claimed.  That is a bald face lie. He knew it was his girlfriend since she screamed while still in the stall.

I find that aspect of his testimony highly suspect. If there was a intruder in the stall, he would know that Pistorius had already been awake and was heading towards the bathroom since the so-called intruder would have heard someone crawling along the floor towards the bathroom.
 In any case, why would an intruder be in the stall in the first place?  There would be nothing in the stall worth stealing. The intruder would have preferred to escape by the open sliding door that he came through and after reaching on the balcony, he would climb down the ladder that the intruder would have used to get to the balcony.


9.    Pistorius said that when he returned to his bedroom, he reached for Steenkamp and realized that she wasn’t in the bed. It was then that he then realized that she wasn’t there. He said that he still hadn’t turned on the lights after he left the bathroom because he was too scared to turn them on. That statement is hog wash. Absolutely hog wash.

10.    He then sat on the end of his bed and put on his two prosthetic legs that were propped at the end of the bed and then he turned on the light on a night table. Why didn’t he do that when he woke up?


11.   He then picked up a cricket bat that was on the bedroom floor and walked into the bathroom and smashed open the stall door where he then found Steenkamp slumped on the floor. She was still alive then. The bloodied bat was later found in his bedroom. Why did he take it back into his bedroom?   

12.     He said he then phoned Johan Stander who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone for an ambulance.

13.      He  said that he then carried her down stairs to the main floor.  That was later confirmed by witnesses.

 What a sad story he presented to the authorities but was it really a true story? 

My analysis of his story 

I will now present you with my view on what he claims happened in accordance to the aforementioned numbered scenarios he told the police.  He claimed that he feared that his personal security guards were in cahoots with the burglars. That is a silly statement. If he really believed that, he would have arranged for new security guards to protect him and this he didn’t do. 

 A burglar could however use a ladder because there was a ladder on the property left there by a carpenter but a burglar wouldn’t know that unless he went to the side of the house. In any case, the ladder was still where it had been left by the workmen.  

 1.   When Pistorius grabbed his pistol from under his bed, why didn’t he carry it with him when he first went into the bathroom? He said that he grabbed the pistol after he returned to his bedroom and then went to the bathroom with his pistol in his hand.  If he thought an intruder was in his bathroom, one would think that he would carry his pistol when he first went into the bathroom.

2.   Why wouldn’t he turn on the light on his night table before he got up to reach for his pistol under his bed? If he did, and the intruder entered his room, he would see the intruder and could easily shoot him from where he was on the floor of his bedroom.

3.     Why would he not put his prosthetic legs on first before going to the bathroom? He would then be in a better position to shoot at a burglar who might be approaching him than if he was laying on his belly while crawling along the floor.

4.    He also said that he didn’t switch on the bathroom light. The reason why he didn’t do this was because he couldn’t since he was crawling on the floor. Had he been wearing his prosthetic legs, he could have switched on the light. Why would he enter a darkened bathroom if he thought an intruder was inside the bathroom?  

5.   Why was one of the three windows in the bathroom open?  Was it opened before the two of them went to bed so that cool air would circulate in the bathroom? The temperature in Pretoria in February ranges from 21 to 29 Celsius.  That is equivalent to 69.8 to 84 Fahrenheit. That is reasonably cool. There was a legitimate reason for him keeping that window open.

6.    He said that he heard a noise from inside the toilet stall. If that is so, then why didn’t he call out to whoever was in the stall instead of crawling back to his bedroom to get his gun and put on his prosthetic legs? 

7.   His actions in the bathroom when he first entered it doesn’t make any sense at all. Furthermore, had he tried to wake up his bedmate first, he would have realized that she wasn’t in the bed and therefore it was she who was in the bathroom and not am intruder. Why didn’t he wait to see if the intruder was going to enter his bedroom? He had his gun in hand to protect him and his sweetheart. That would certainly be better than walking on his stumps along the darkened hallway with only a pistol in hand.

8.   It was when he returned to the bathroom after getting his pistol from under his bed that he still believed that there was an intruder in the locked stall. He had no right to fire four shots through the door without first asking who was in the stall. The intruder could have been unarmed.  To shoot an intruder in a locked stall without first ascertaining that danger exists is manslaughter.       


9.    When he returned to his bedroom after firing four shots into the door of the stall, he began feeling for Steenkamp to see if she was still in the bed. That wouldn’t have been necessary had he turned on the lamp on his night table when he first got up. Further, he already knew that the girl wasn’t in their bed because he heard her scream when she was shot in the toilet stall.

 10.   After sitting at the end of his bed, he put on his prosthetic legs and then turned on the light. That was when he realized that it was probably Steenkamp who was in the stall. Why didn’t he turn the light on before he put on his prosthetic legs and while putting on his prosthetic legs, why didn’t he call out to Steenkamp at that same moment? 

11,    After using the cricket bat to smash open the door to the stall, why was it later found in his bedroom especially since he immediately pulled Steenkamp from the stall and then carried her down stairs immediately after that?  

12.   I believe that what went on prior to the shooting was that she had been getting dressed to leave him. I think he then first struck her in the head with the cricket bat while they were both still in the bedroom which explains why the blood-covered bat was found in the bedroom and her head being partially fractured. It was already fractured when he was breaking down the door to the stall as the damage to the door by the bat was some considerable distance from the bottom of the door.  If he used it to smash open the door, it would have been left in the bathroom and not in the bedroom.  

There is a suspicion that the first shot took place in the hallway leading to the bathroom while she was trying to escape him. That explains why a cartridge was injected from his gun in the hallway. That shot hit her in the hip. She then ran to the bathroom and locked herself in the toilet stall. She was doubled over because of the pain. He fired three more shots and apparently the shots were fired towards the toilet and from a shoulder-high stance when he fired the three shots through the door.  She probably covered her head, which is why the bullet also went through her hand.  The fact that the door to the stall was locked indicates Steenkamp was trying to protect herself from Pristorius.

Neighbours are said to have complained to their security guards two hours before shots were heard at the athlete’s home east of Pretoria about a noise disturbance—potentially a row between Pistorius and Steenkamp.

The iPad owned by Reeva Steenkamp could be a key part of the Oscar Pistorius murder investigation after claims that a message from Hougaard, a rugby player may have provoked a row between her and Pistorius that led to her being shot. His close relationship with the model, with which they shared an agent and a brand ambassador role, might have been a cause of tension between her and Pistorius. Hougaard corresponded regularly with Miss Steenkamp before her death on Twitter, posting a picture of the two of them together online after she died.

Pistorius called his father soon after 3.20 am asked him to come to the house. When the family arrived, Pistorius was allegedly carrying Steenkamp down the stairs, her head and arms dangling. Justin Divaris, a friend who introduced Steenkamp and the South African superstar, told the Mirror that Pistorius phoned him prior to notifying authorities of the shooting. I find that disconcerting that he didn’t call for an ambulance on his cellphone until he called his father and friend first. Security guards and neighbours who went to his home, saw Pistorius going down the stairs with Steenkamp in his arms.

My Summary

In my opinion, I believe that Pistorius deliberately struck the victim on her head while they were both in the bedroom and then while he dropped the bat to the floor, she began running to the bathroom in order to lock the toilet stall door behind her in hopes that he would calm down. She didn’t realize that he would follow her with a pistol in hand. He then placed himself at the end of the shower closest to the stall and aimed his gun at the area of where the toilet would be and fired three bullets into the door and into her body and this was all done in a fit of uncontrollable anger.

This is not to say that my analysis of the Pistorius/Steenkamp shooting is the right one. There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting so the evidence unfortunately happens to be pure circumstantial and conjecture.  But based on what I heard the magistrate say and what I read, my proposed scenario was the only one that made any sense to me.

 I do however want to say that I believe that the crime wasn’t premeditated. I think it was done on the spur of the moment in a fit of extreme anger however, that would still make it murder but to a lesser degree. 

The trial, which began March 3, 2015 in South Africa, was compared to the infamous OJ Simpson trial and has been very critical of Pistorius. Witness testimony has painted Pistorius as a trigger-happy individual with a short temper. 

Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa in September 2014 declared that Oscar Pistorius was guilty of culpable homicide, (equivalent to manslaughter) after she acquitted him of murder. I don’t think that was a suitable conclusion on the judge’s part. She should have convicted him with second degree murder.

 The following month, he was sentenced to five years in prison.  I can appreciate that a great many people will think that five years in prison is not enough considering the fact that he supposedly negligently killed a human being. I am also one of them.

I have no sympathy for anyone who stupidly shoots his gun into an enclosed place (such as a toilet that has a door) without ascertaining who is inside that closed place. I feel the same way when a drunk driver kills someone else because of his or her drunken driving. In my opinion, Pistorius should have got fifteen years in prison.

Now this stupid man sought an early release after only serving eleven months in prison, Are you ready for this? The board granted his request and ordered that he was to serve the remainder of his sentence at his uncle's three-story mansion.  That doesn’t mean that he can’t go out of the house and work and play in the community. It actually means that he must be at him uncle’s home at night. What this really means is that he got only eleven months in prison for stupidly killing a human being. Is that justice?

Prosecutors subsequently lodged an appeal urging that the athlete be convicted of the more serious crime of murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years. That kind of charge would be classed as a second degree murder. That form of murder is a non-premeditated killing of a human being.   

 The head of South Africa's Department of Justice can intervene to prevent Oscar Pistorius' early release from prison, the department said on the 30th of August, 2015, just two days before the Olympic athlete was expected to leave jail and get house arrest and serve the remainder of his five-year sentence of incarceration in his uncle’s luxurious house.

Ask yourself this rhetorical question. If a poor man was convicted of the same crime, would he be released from prison after serving only eleven months of a five-year sentence in prison so that he can live in a very luxurious home for the rest of his sentence? The answer is not unlike the one I will ask you now. “Do orthodox Jews eat bacon?” 

In March 2016, just over three years after he shot his girlfriend, the highest court in South Africa has refused to let him appeal his conviction.
  Campaigners for women’s rights in South Africa expressed disappointment with the sentence.  Jacqui Mofokeng of the African National Congress women’s league, who had attended much of the trial, said after hearing about the sentence given to Pistorius, “The judgment is an insult to women. It sends the wrong message.”


Pistorius sentence was appealed by the prosecution. Africa’s  Supreme Court in its ruling in November 2017, said in part, “Oscar Pistorius displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions. He should have been sentenced to the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder.”



The court increased Pistorius’ sentence to 13 years, 5 months. Under that initial sentence, which the court called "shockingly lenient." The double-amputee runner could have been released on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he'll be eligible for parole is 2023. The new sentence of thirteen years and five months took into account the one year and seven months Pistorius served in prison and under house arrest after his manslaughter conviction. Pistorius must serve at least half of his new sentence which is  nearly seven years before he can be considered for parole. So far, he has served a year and five months of his murder sentence. Pistorius' lawyers have one avenue left open to them if they want to challenge the new sentence, and that is to appeal to Africa’s Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa. 

If I was a member of that court, I would look upon Oscar Pistorius as if he had just butchered my cat. I will be very surprised if that court chooses to look favorably on this stupid lying killer.

 As to his untruthful testimony, if he was Pinocchio, his nose would far exceed the length of that wooden character in that children’s fairy tale.     

No comments: