Relentless questioning propelled Oscar Pistorius into an emotional frenzy this week. Standing in the witness box, he sobbed, vomited, sweated and howled his way through the prosecutor Gerrie “The Pitbull” Nell’s cross examination of the night he shot and killed his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp last February 14. The live stream being viewed by millions all over the world has, at times, been excruciating to watch - not only because of the dramatic display of emotion, but because of one question: is it genuine?
In this week’s issue, Jerome Starkey, The Times’ Africa Correspondent, answers that question - also posed by Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June. Witnessing the trial first hand Jerome has been in the courthouse from day one. And as Oscar took to the stand to be questioned this week, he spoke to Grazia about what he saw.
“It’s very difficult to make yourself vomit for hours on end,” Jerome said last week, from Pretoria. “He has often been visibly shaking, and on the stand his words have been barely audible at times.
“Last week, as he described holding Reeva’s body, the last words he managed were ‘she’s wasn’t breathing’ before he stopped and screamed. June Steenkamp has questioned the veracity of his reactions - but I would say that very few in that courtroom - myself included - would suggest that his emotion is anything but real.
“However that doesn’t necessarily speak of his guilt or innocence.”
Oscar is accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp by firing four shots at her through the bathroom door of his Pretoria home last year. He vehemently denies murder, insisting that he mistook Reeva for an intruder and fired the shots “out of fear”.
The trial is now into its sixth week, despite an anticipated end date of March 20 - and Oscar is reportedly selling his house to fund legal costs further. Until an end date is in sight, his days of anguish and grief are only set to contine…
To read Jerome's full account, buy the latest issue of Grazia, out now