The Oscar Pistorius Trial: A Brief Background To The South African Athlete

Oscar Pistorius faces the possibility of spending 25 years in Prison. Prison life in South Africa has a terrifying reputation for its hostility, brutality and suffering. For a man who has been through a double amputation on his legs, Pistorius will potentially struggle to cope with the torrid conditions and life behind bars.

The Trial over the alleged murder of Oscar’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp began today and with the nation watching, (something Pistorius isn’t fazed about after performing at the 2012 Olympics in London) this is a whole new low for the athlete.

The incident took place on Valentine’s Day last year, when Pistorius allegedly mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and shot her point blank through the bathroom door. The neighbour’s evidence suggests “bloodcurdling screams” and “a sense of fear” from Steenkamp. Oscar pleads not guilty to all allegations.

As I said, this is a new low for the life of the most famous Paralympian of all time and his background is what makes this one of the most anticipated court cases of the century, and also bares a huge blow on the Paralympics who could lose their most prized asset.

Some of you reading this may wonder who the hell Oscar Pistorius is. Oscar was born in Sandton, South Africa on November 22, 1986. He had both his legs amputated below the knees aged just 11 months. He has gone on to become known as “Blade Runner” after competing for South Africa in the 2011 World Championships as well as the 2004 Athens,2008  Beijing and  2012 London Olympics in the 200 and 400m events using artificial limbs. Pistorius became a hero for disabled athletes around the world and was the face of the Paralympics.

This isn’t the first time Pistorius has got in trouble with the law, as in 2009 he was arrested for assault on a woman at his home. He was held overnight but was bailed out the next day without charge.

So, what did we learn from Day One of the Trial? Well, from the 107 witnesses we heard from the neighbour of Pistorius and Steenkamp, who knew something was wrong when she could hear Steenkamp’s terror. She was very adamant that she felt Reeva was in danger for her life as her comments were played to the court, press and both sets of families who made their appearances present.

The court has also asked for apple to hack into Pistorius’ phone in order to try and contextualise the events of that fateful morning through call logs and text messages the evening before. Pistorius’ representatives claim they gave the court the code to access the offender’s mobile but the code doesn’t seem to unlock the device. Does this foreshadow Pistorius’ fate?

The Trial will go on until the 20th March when a verdict will supposedly be delivered. Whether he is guilty or not, the Life of Oscar Pistorius will change…forever.

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