Oscar Pistorius was 'on phone to ex' on eve of shooting
New book claims prosecution failed to link a phone number to Oscar Pistorius's ex-girlfriend 'Babyshoes' Jenna Edkins
Oscar Pistorius spoke to his former girlfriend Jenna Edkins hours before he killed Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February last year, according to a new book by two South African journalists.
Pistorius was last month convicted of culpable homicide for the Valentine's Day shooting and will be sentenced on 13 October.
A book by Eyewitness News journalists Barry Bateman and Mandy Wiener claims police investigators failed to realise Pistorius had spoken to his ex-girlfriend Edkins because her phone number was registered in her father's name. The number had been saved under the name "Babyshoes".
The book, called Behind the Door, claims Pistorius was talking to his ex-girlfriend for nine minutes just before he arrived home at around 6pm on 13 February.
Edkins, who dated Pistorius on and off for five years from 2008, said it was common knowledge that they had remained friends over the years and she did not want to be involved in any media hype around "this terrible situation".
A member of the prosecution team denied that the state had missed a crucial piece of evidence, suggesting that the phone call would have been considered character evidence and the state would have struggled to persuade Judge Thokozile Masipa about the value of the call.
While reading the conviction, Masipa dismissed phone messages between Steenkamp and Pistorius, saying they could not be used to prove anything for the state or defence. "Normal relationships are dynamic and unpredictable most of the time, while human beings are fickle," she said. "None of the evidence of a loving relationship, or a relationship turned sour, can assist this court."
A source close to the defence said they knew about the call and that Edkins had been prepared to testify for them if the prosecution introduced the phone records as a "smoking gun".
The book also claims that Pistorius's brother Carl was close to being charged for defeating the ends of justice after police said he had tampered with the athlete's phone in the days after Steenkamp was shot. The entire call history and every WhatsApp message had reportedly been deleted, as well as several messages sent to the device after the shooting.
The Pistorius family have said they are not aware of any deletions on the athlete's phone that could have affected the trial.
Oscar Pistorius trial: 'there is still a missing link'
The parents of Reeva Steenkamp believe there is more to what happened on the night of their daughter's death than what has emerged in court.
Earlier this month, Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide after he shot his girlfriend Reeva four times through a toilet door on Valentine's Day last year.
But Barry and June Steenkamp have said, for them, it was not "the right verdict". In an interview with Australian channel SBS One, broadcast last night, Barry said he does not believe Pistorius's account that he mistook Reeva for a dangerous intruder.
"He could have gone to the balcony and shouted for help knowing that somebody was there. He could have pressed the alarm system [and] all this would have been prevented," he said. "I feel that there's still a missing link somewhere. I think there's quite a bit more to the whole thing than has been produced so far."
His wife added: "They've missed something, what really happened. Only Oscar knows what really happened."
The couple said that they were shocked when Pistorius was cleared of murder by Judge Thokozile Masipa on 12 September.
"We were shocked, shocked, disappointed. You know, your heart drops. You just want the truth and it's going in the wrong direction, that's how you feel," said June.
She added that they were both "exhausted" and have not had time to grieve. "It is a horrible, horrible thing that we've been through, and it's still going on," she said.
Yet the couple said they feel "no hate" towards Pistorius and actually feel sorry for him. "In seconds his whole life changed, and you don't wish that on anybody, but things did happen, and things happened there that haven't been brought up, I know that," said Barry.
Pistorius is due to return to court on 13 October to find out his sentence.
Oscar Pistorius trial: five questions in wake of verdict
19 September 2014
A week has passed since Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, but there are still questions to be answered about the athlete's future. Judge Thokozile Masipa's verdict was questioned by legal experts. It also sparked intimidating threats on social media, forcing her to step up her personal security, with police stationed outside her home. Pistorius has escaped the 25-year prison sentence for pre-meditated murder, but he could still face a hefty time in jail. Here are five questions in the wake of the verdict:
When will Oscar Pistorius be sentenced?
The court will reconvene on 13 October for sentencing. As well as the culpable homicide conviction, Pistorius was also found guilty of negligently discharging a firearm in a crowded restaurant months before Steenkamp's death. The athlete was granted bail, despite the prosecution claiming that he was a flight risk because he had sold his moveable assets. However, the defence explained that Pistorius had sold his houses to pay his legal fees and the judge granted him bail, pointing out that the prosecution should have raised their concerns when he sold the houses, not at this late stage. Sentencing could go on for more than a day, as the defence and prosecution will make arguments for a lighter or heavier punishment. Witnesses, including Pistorius, could be called back to the stand.
What sentence does Oscar Pistorius face?
The sentence for culpable homicide is largely at the judge's discretion. Pistorius could be jailed for up to 15 years or he could be given a fine, a suspended sentence or correctional supervision. Legal experts say the maximum prison time is rarely handed out and Pistorius would be entitled to seek parole after serving half of his sentence. Correctional supervision could include anything from community service to a rehabilitation programme. Kelly Phelps, a CNN legal analyst, says a typical sentence is five to eight years. "But it is a principle of South African law that the sentence should be tailored to the culprit as a whole person, as opposed to the crime."
Will Oscar Pistorius meet Reeva Steenkamp's family?
Reeva Steenkamp's parents June and Barry have requested a meeting with Pistorius. In an interview with BBC 3 following the verdict, Steenkamp's father said he could only come to terms with their loss once he had questioned the athlete himself, face to face. "It won't be anything nice or anything like that, but I'd like to sit down and talk to him," he said. "And I'm sure that will come about." Pistorius had previously requested to speak to them, but they were not ready for the confrontation at the time. Steenkamp's mother June said she was "very, very disappointed" with the verdict and was astonished that the court believed it was an accident. "I wanted the truth, I don't think we got the truth," she concluded. "That's the whole point. We did not get the truth."
Will there be an appeal on the verdict?
Both sides can apply for leave to appeal if they believe the judge made an error in law. According to legal experts, the defence could form grounds for appeal arguing that the unprecedented broadcast of the court sessions rendered it an unfair trial. Others say the prosecution might argue that Masipa applied the test for dolus eventualis incorrectly. Usually an appellant will rely on numerous grounds, says David Dadic, a litigation attorney based in Johannesburg. Steenkamp's family are also expected to continue a civil claim, which has been on hold during the trial.
Will Oscar Pistorius race in the Olympics again?
The International Paralympic Committee has said Pistorius could resume his career once he has served his sentence and the South African Olympic Committee has confirmed that it has no regulations barring athletes with a criminal record. Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner, was last year cleared to race overseas after appealing his bail terms, but chose not to while he focused on his murder trial. His agent Peet van Zyl told The Guardian that competing at the moment is not an option but that they would "sit down and take stock" after the sentencing hearing.
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