Steenkamps hire PI

2013-02-24 10:00

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Reeva’s family get representation for the investigation.

The family of Reeva Steenkamp has appointed a private investigator to “represent” them during the Oscar Pistorius murder investigation.

Johannesburg-based investigator Lance Epstein confirmed to City Press that he has been appointed to provide the family with updates on the probe.

Epstein was in court this week when Magistrate Desmond Nair granted Pistorius bail of R1 million.

He accompanied members of Reeva’s “Johannesburg-family” – Desi and Kim Myers – to the bail hearing.

Reeva has lived with the Myers since September last year.

Epstein’s firm describes itself as “one of the leading teams of private investigators in South Africa. The team collectively boasts more than 100 years experience in the SA Police Service, private investigation and intelligence industries.”

The police investigation into the crime took a knock this week, with Nair severely criticising the evidence of former investigating officer Hilton Botha.

Botha was replaced by a high-level team of detectives led by national head of detectives Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo.

City Press understands Moonoo will oversee the investigation, but the docket will be carried by seasoned sleuth Captain Mike van Aardt.

Van Aardt is an experienced investigator who worked in super cop Piet Byleveld’s team of murder detectives.

They solved the Leigh Matthews murder case and, in 2008, Van Aardt’s detective work put Moffat Park serial rapist and murderer Gcinumzi Richman Makhwenkwe behind bars.

It was clear from Pistorius’ bail hearing that forensics would play a key role in the murder trial.

Nair highlighted this during his judgment, when he lambasted Botha’s evidence, but said it was not the end of the state’s case.

“It can never be said that Warrant Officer Hilton Botha is the state’s case. The state’s case will comprise of forensic evidence,” the magistrate said.

Just because Botha was weak, Nair said, doesn’t mean the state’s case is weak. “The only other person who was there was the accused (Pistorius).”

When the case goes to trial, the state will have to reconstruct the scene of the crime and present their version of events, supported by forensic evidence.

This will depend on evidence from ballistic experts, pathologists and forensic analysts who will analyse everything found at the scene, plus the cellphone records of all the parties involved, particularly Pistorius and Steenkamp.

What police found in the house

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