Media outlets vie for most salacious details on Oscar

2014-03-02 16:26
Oscar Pistorius (Alexander Joe, AFP)

Oscar Pistorius (Alexander Joe, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The weekend before Oscar Pistorius - once South Africa's golden boy - goes on trial for the murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, media outlets vied with each other for the most salacious details they could give their readers.

An undated video was unearthed by Sky News that was broadcast and also published as stills which showed Pistorius praticising at a gun range.

His taut muscular arms clutch a pistol aimed at a watermelon which soon explodes as he hits his mark.

A voice is then heard - which various TV stations and newspapers reported - sounded a lot like Pistorius, describing the watermelon's demise as "...a lot softer than brain, but fuck it's like a zombie stopper".

Pistorius has admitted to shooting Steenkamp at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

At his bail hearing, Pistorius's lawyer submitted the athlete had thought he was shooting an intruder, when he fired his pistol through a door to a toilet.

At the weekend, reports emerged of a new girlfriend for Pistorius.

Beeld newspaper dubbed the 19-year-old trainee paramedic Leah Skye Malan - whom Pistorius apparently met in the December holidays in Mozambique - the "blade stunner" in just one of a number of attempts by media at wordplay on Pistorius's previous fame as a double amputee Paralympic athlete called "Blade Runner".

His previous relationships, a collection of mostly blonde women, ranging from his high school sweetheart to apparently a Russian supermodel, were also rehashed in media reports.

A Who's Who list of lawyers, witnesses and even journalists due to cover the case - and publish related books - were documented.

The CV of Judge Thokozile Masipa who is to preside over the case, details of what prosecutor Gerrie Nel and defence lawyer Barry Roux like to do in their leisure time, a graphic recreation of the layout of the Pistorius house with a cartoon depiction of Pistorius in the imagined positions on the night of the crime all made their way into the public realm.

A paparazzi-style aerial view photograph of the manicured lawned-and-swimming-pool-adorned Waterkloof family home where Pistorius has most recently been staying was also featured.

While the NPA has denied leaking documents on Pistorius's murder trial, the media has fed off alleged details from these.

The documents reportedly said Nel would present five witnesses who heard screams which were "as described in the documents" extinguished at the same time as the gunshots.

Surfing porn

It was also suggested Pistorius was surfing pornography websites on the night before the murder.

Reports also emerged that detectives had spent a week in the US with Apple getting Pistorius's iPhone unlocked.

In the days leading up to the trial, Pistorius' media management team even set up a Twitter account called @OscarHardTruth, which promised to "address the truth and expose those with ulterior motives. The Truth will Prevail".

However, on Monday, the presentation and rejection of facts from fiction and frenzy will begin in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria as Pistorius faces charges of premeditated murder and contravening the Firearms Control Act.

The trial, to be broadcast live on television and radio, with the initial indictment listing 107 witnesses to testify for the State, is expected to last at least three weeks.

On Sunday, Gauteng traffic police issued a statement to warn motorist of expected congestion around the North Gauteng High Court.

Spokesperson Obed Sibasa said that security would be tight and officials were on "high alert" as they were expecting a huge number of people to attend the hearing.

- SAPA
Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial
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