On Thursday, Valentine's Day, the girlfriend of Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, died from gunshot wounds at his luxury home in South Africa. Initial reports suggested that Oscar had shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp during a Valentine's surprise that went wrong. Police soon dismissed that report. Reeva died from several gunshot wounds and there have been claims that Oscar may have struck her with a cricket bat. A bail-hearing which is underway is almost looking like a full-blown trial.
The two-day bail hearing in the Oscar Pistorius case heard in Oscar's own words, how Reeva died. The prosecution had said that they would show he had a motive to kill, whilst the defence team insisted it was not murder. SkyNews reported that the prosecution claimed the double amputee, paralympian, Oscar put on his false legs before walking 7 metres to the bathroom and firing four gunshots through the bathroom door. Reeva who was cowering behind the door died from three gunshot wounds.
The prosecution are pursuing a charge of premeditated murder. Oscar's defence team will claim it was not murder.
Oscar appeared at a the start of a two-day bail hearing Tuesday. The defence team claimed he would finally explain the circumstances surrounding the death of Reeva. His team want bail as they claim that Oscar poses no threat to any person and will not abscond.
Also Tuesday morning the funeral of Reeva took place. Hundreds attended the funeral in Port Elizabeth.
Later Tuesday Oscar's statement was read out by his defence team. It claimed that, "Oscar heard what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom, as he was going to the balcony. He claims he did not know that Reeva had left their bed, nor that it was she in the bathroom. He was not wearing his prosthetic legs at this time. Oscar managed to get his weapon which he fired through the bathroom door. He shouted to Reeva to call the police and realised she was not in the bed. Oscar then used a cricket bat to break down the door where he saw a dying Reeva. He then allegedly put on his prosthetic limbs and carried her downstairs where police found him a little later."
There are reports from the court that steroids, needles and unlicensed ammunition were discovered at Oscar's home. A witness claims to have heard screams followed by gunfire. The defence team claimed the witness was not near enough to hear and that the substance found was "herbal".
Evidence presented to the court supports the allegation that Oscar was wearing his false legs at the time of the attack. This was concluded from the trajectory of the shots.
The hearing continues Thursday and it seems likely Oscar may be bailed.
Oscar's statement is both plausible and unbelievable. How come he did not challenge the presumed intruder? Why did he not call out or offer a warning? A shoot first ask questions later policy was surely doomed from the start.
There is much speculation surrounding this case. Oscar and Reeva were both high-profile celebrities. As such media and public interest will be insatiable. Getting the balance right between press reporting, public interest and allowing a fair trial will be difficult.
The bail hearing will recovene Thursday and decide the immediate fate of Oscar.
Although the defence claims he did not kill Reeva, she is dead. Reeva must not be forgotten. A beautiful young woman, with her life before her, has died in tragic and cruel circumstances. Is it right that the man charged with ending her life receives bail? Would an ordinary member of South African society receive the same treatment? Would a black man or woman in South Africa be given the same treatment?
Oscar Pistorius is rich and famous but he is facing criminal charges. As the charges include the death of Reeva bail is surely inappropriate?
Reeva is dead, whether her killing was premeditated, manslaughter or a tragic accident. We must remember though that Mr Pistorius deserves a fair trial. With no witnesses the jury in the trial will have a difficult task ahead.