It’s been dubbed the ‘trial of the century’ – but what happens when the TV cameras at Oscar Pistorius’s trial are turned off? In this week’s issue of Grazia, Sky News Special Correspondent Alex Crawford who has been in court every day, reveals Oscar’s stress, the ever-present ‘Pistorian’ fan club … and the rift that threatens to tear his family apart.
“Whatever he did on Valentine’s Day last year - and only Oscar Pistorius really knows that full truth - he is unfailingly polite right now. I greet him as he unexpectedly turns up on his own one morning in the second week of his murder trial – for once without the family heavies, the so-called “Pistorian Guard” who are his burly cousins. Oscar looks slightly surprised, even taken aback at the simple salutation. ‘Good morning Mam,’ he replies, lowering his eyes again and walking quickly past me and into Court GD at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
I have a ringside seat at South Africa’s most compelling murder trials which has all the ingredients of a Hollywood drama – a good-looking, prodigiously talented sportsman who has triumphed over physical challenges, but also the man who shot and brutally killed his beautiful girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The trial – scheduled to last until May 16 – has captivated millions around the world. But few, aside from the reporters in Court GD, are seeing what happens when the cameras are switched off… I am close enough to see how the stress is getting to him. On camera he looks focused, arriving at court every day with a briefcase… yet in the flesh he looks exhausted and red-eyed.
Sky Special Correspondent Alex Crawford is reporting from Oscar Pistorius's trial
I have watched how the back of his neck turns bright red when details of Reeva’s injuries are described. I have witnessed at first hand how the muscles began twitching when ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor gave evidence, saying he cheated on her with Reeva. And I've seen him sobbing in the arms of his brother Carl and sister Aimee when the court takes a break - and the cameras are turned off.
By Week Two, the actual toilet cubicle at the centre of the killing has been reconstructed in the courtroom, complete with toilet bowl and magazine rack. The toilet door has four, neat bullet holes near the door handle to remind us this isn’t some badly constructed stage prop from a school play. It is the actual piece of wood that this man, once heralded as an icon the world over, fired through, hitting and killing his terrified lover. Oscar did this, we are told, using bullets known as Black Talons, considered so devastating that they’ve been banned in more than one country.
Oscar and Reeva Steenkamp
There is a long, long way to go before his ordeal - and that of Reeva's family and friends is over. And really, whatever the outcome, there are no winners.
Alex Crawford is Special Correspondent for Sky News. Watch all the latest on the Oscar Pistorius trial on Sky channel 501.
The full article appears in this week’s issue of Grazia, on sale now.