In the early hours of Thursday February 14th, Valentine’s Day, it is alleged that a young woman was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, receiving four fatal bullet wounds from a 9mm pistol in a domestic dispute, which ended in the direst of circumstances.
The sense of shock surrounding the incident was intensely magnified as it emerged that both the victim and the suspect were world famous personalities within their relative fields, creating a huge sense of personal connection to the bizarre and deeply saddening events that took place.
The suspect, Oscar Pistorius, is regarded among one of South Africa’s greatest icons, represented as a true sporting superstar, whose victory over adversity has given hope to millions worldwide.
Born without fibulae, he is a double amputee who, at just 26-years young, already owns six Paralympic gold medals, having set numerous world records along the way and is regarded as one of Nike’s biggest athletic clients.
The victim, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was a South African model and celebrity, known as both an FHM cover girl and the face of cosmetics brand Avon.
Steenkamp is reported to have arrived at Pistorius’ house in the prestigious Silver Woods estate in Pretoria at 8:15pm on Wednesday, having been seen buying Valentine’s Day gifts for her boyfriend shortly before.
Although early rumours had suggested the athlete shot his girlfriend accidentally, believing her to be an intruder, these reports were rapidly scotched by police spokeswoman Denise Beukes, stating, “We are talking about neighbours and people that heard things earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place.”
Despite the relationship still blooming in the supposed ‘honeymoon period’, all was far from rosy behind closed doors, with police confirming their previous involvement on several occasions in relation to “incidents of a domestic nature” at the same address.
Pistorius is known to be a gun enthusiast and boasted of his abilities in November 2011 on Twitter, claiming, “Had a 96 per cent headshot over 300m from 50 shots! Bam!” In November 2012, his comment on the social networking site, suggested an affinity for confrontation: “Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry.”
South Africa is second only to Columbia in terms of firearms deaths per head of population and with almost 4 million guns in private hands this equates to approximately 8 per 100 people. However, the majority of these firearms are in the possession of the white community, who make up fewer than 10% of the total 49 million population.
The runner’s former coach, Andrea Giannini, expressed his astonishment at the news, insisting that, “Oscar was always calm and positive. I never saw him violent.”
Having been taken to Mamalodi hospital, on the outskirts of the city, to undergo medical tests, his lawyer, Kenny Oldwage admitted his client was “doing well but very emotional.”
On the day designed to express your love to those closest to you, it was the man nicknamed ‘Blade Runner’ and recently advertised by Nike as ‘The Bullet In The Chamber’, shooting himself to superstardom through his explosive running, who seemingly failed to control his explosive emotions.
With Pistorius charged with murder, the circumstances surrounding the events and those that preceded the killing are now of greatest interest to those so deeply shocked and saddened by an incident, which has not only ended the life of a beautiful young lady, but cut short the glittering career of a pioneer in the disabled sports world.
Written by Dom Wallace
Sport 4 Thought