OS­CAR AND THE 8-MINUTE CALL TO HIS MYS­TE­RI­OUS BABYSHOES

CityPress - - Front Page - Be­hind the Door is pub­lished by Pan Macmil­lan and is avail­able in all good book­stores for a rec­om­mended re­tail price of R240

In this ex­tract from their book, Be­hind The Door: The Os­car Pis­to­rius and Reeva Steenkamp Story, Barry Bate­man and Mandy Wiener track the ath­lete’s phone calls in the hours be­fore he shot and killed his girl­friend. They dis­cover a 522-sec­ond call to ‘Babyshoes’

Per­haps the great­est mys­tery lin­ger­ing after the phone ex­perts left the wit­ness stand was ‘What was on the iPhone?’ For many, it seemed ob­vi­ous the an­swer to the ques­tion of mo­tive lay hid­den be­tween the metal and glass of the hand­set.

As the con­tents of that phone were largely wiped, it was dif­fi­cult for in­ves­ti­ga­tors to es­tab­lish con­clu­sively what ac­tiv­ity took place via that phone. How­ever, they did have phone records from Vodacom, which formed part of the ex­hibits. This meant they could see who Os­car had been talk­ing to or ex­chang­ing mes­sages with, but they could not see the con­tents of those mes­sages or know what the con­ver­sa­tions were about.

In­ex­pli­ca­bly, the pros­e­cu­tion team and the in­ves­ti­ga­tors chose not to lead any of this ev­i­dence in court.

We an­a­lysed the phone records by check­ing the call records against the data ex­tracted from Os­car’s phone.

This al­lowed us to plot Os­car’s move­ments and who he was in con­tact with the day be­fore he killed Reeva.

This was cru­cial as it pro­vided in­sight into ex­actly how nor­mal, or not, cir­cum­stances were in the hours lead­ing up to the shoot­ing. We jux­ta­posed this against Os­car’s own ver­sion of events in an at­tempt to fi­nally an­swer one of the great mys­ter­ies lin­ger­ing after the case.

Os­car’s first call that day was in­com­ing, at 8.31am and lasted a mere 12 seconds. Search­ing Os­car’s con­tacts data­base iden­ti­fied the cor­re­spond­ing num­ber: Ryan from Firzt real­tors.

On the road to Jo­han­nes­burg he phoned his man­ager Peet, and then tried to make con­tact with a banker from Rand Mer­chant Bank (RMB) at 9.40am. At about 10.20am, he called ‘Vay­vay’.

Run­ning a con­sumer search on the num­ber linked it to sports jour­nal­ist Vaylen Kirt­ley. They met on 13 Fe­bru­ary for break­fast in Mel­rose Arch.

Kirt­ley says the meet­ing was a catch-up of old friends.

Ear­lier, at 8.31am, Os­car re­ceived an SMS con­firm­ing the meet­ing he was to at­tend at a law firm. On his way from Mel­rose Arch, Os­car called the banker from RMB. The ath­lete had had his R4 mil­lion bond ap­proved for his new home a week ear­lier. The call lasted nine min­utes. After this he re­ceived a short call from David at Nike, one of his pri­mary spon­sors.

What Os­car did not men­tion in his tes­ti­mony were the calls he made be­tween his meet­ing at the law firm and his ap­point­ment with the prop­erty man. At 12.57pm he chat­ted to his friend Justin Di­varis. And then at 12.58pm he spent four min­utes on the phone with a model, whose name is known to us. Records show that since 1 Jan­uary 2013 Os­car had called the model at least once a week.

Os­car went on to have his meet­ing with Ryan. After that, he went to Di­varis’s shop.

Os­car called Reeva at 3.54pm – his last call be­fore he got back on to the high­way to head home.

On the way he spoke to his sib­lings Carl and Aimee, for about five min­utes each. Reeva had popped out to buy food and called her boyfriend at 5.44pm. They chat­ted for two min­utes be­fore Os­car called his friend Alex Pi­lak­outas and then rugby player Wy­nand Olivier.

At 6.07pm, Os­car made one more call from his car and spoke to the per­son for nine min­utes. Who was Os­car talk­ing to? He was never asked. We cross-ref­er­enced the ser­vice provider re­port with the ath­lete’s con­tact book. It turned up a sin­gle name: ‘Babyshoes’.

Search­ing for this num­ber turned up more than a dozen text mes­sages and phone calls be­tween Os­car and Babyshoes since 1 Jan­uary 2013.

The first text mes­sage to Babyshoes was sent on New Year’s Day at 3.38am. On 11 Jan­uary, the day Os­car dis­charged Fresco’s firearm in the Tashas restau­rant, seven SMSes were sent from Os­car to Babyshoes. On the af­ter­noon of 12 Jan­uary, Reeva sent Os­car a mes­sage telling him she was feel­ing low, to which he re­sponded that he be­lieved he had a ‘beau­ti­ful con­nec­tion’ with her. Past mid­night on the fol­low­ing morn­ing, Os­car sent three text mes­sages to Babyshoes.

At 1.57pm on 27 Jan­uary, Os­car called Babyshoes and chat­ted for 400 seconds. A study of the phone records shows the ath­lete doesn’t tend to spend a lot of time on the phone talk­ing to peo­ple. A sev­en­minute con­ver­sa­tion is an anom­aly.

Two hours after this call, Reeva sent Os­car the What­sApp mes­sage in which she says: ‘I’m scared of u some­times.’

The next con­tact came on 6 Fe­bru­ary at 7.00am. The pre­vi­ous evening Reeva had sent Os­car a mes­sage say­ing she wor­ried she cramped the ath­lete’s style. Amongst the first calls that day was to Babyshoes.

Two days later, on 8 Fe­bru­ary, at 10.39am, Os­car’s phone con­nected again to Babyshoes – this time for 12 min­utes. Ac­cord­ing to the records, apart from his calls with Reeva, it was one of the long­est con­ver­sa­tions Os­car had had on his phone.

What was sig­nif­i­cant about the day? Reeva’s phone re­veals she had sent Os­car a mes­sage about the fight the cou­ple had had at the Vir­gin Ac­tive Awards, in which she said: ‘I re­gard my­self as a lady and I didn’t feel like one tonight after the way u treated me when we left.’

It ap­peared when Os­car had a fight with his girl­friend and there was un­hap­pi­ness, he had con­tact with Babyshoes. He called this per­son be­fore ar­riv­ing home on 13 Fe­bru­ary, although there is no ev­i­dence Os­car and Reeva ar­gued that day.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed the phone num­ber was used by Jenna Ed­kins ... Os­car’s girl­friend from 2008 un­til 2011. Sa­man­tha Tay­lor names her as be­ing at the cen­tre of her break-up with Os­car, just weeks be­fore he met Reeva.

Jenna had ve­he­mently de­fended the ath­lete on so­cial me­dia and was the only ex-girl­friend to be in­ter­viewed by the panel when Os­car was re­ferred to Weskop­pies Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal.

Jenna was not ques­tioned by the po­lice, nor was a state­ment taken from her. And Os­car made no men­tion of their con­ver­sa­tion last­ing 522 seconds on the evening of 13 Fe­bru­ary 2013 in his ev­i­dence-inchief – although he was never asked to de­tail all his calls.

The un­avoid­able ques­tion is why the state never pur­sued the pos­si­ble rel­e­vance of this call and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Jenna.

It is un­der­stood Hawks cell­phone ex­pert Cap­tain Fran­cois Moller had pro­vided in­ves­ti­ga­tors with a list of the iden­ti­ties of the num­bers on the ser­vice provider list, but no one had made the con­nec­tion be­tween Jenna’s fa­ther’s name and Os­car. The prose­cut­ing au­thor­ity de­clined to com­ment on ques­tions we sent to them about this rev­e­la­tion.

‘It would be wrong to in­fer the state erred in not lead­ing that info,’ a mem­ber of the state’s team sug­gested. ‘It would deal with character ev­i­dence, which the state is not en­ti­tled to lead. If there is no SMS or What­sApp com­mu­ni­ca­tion, how do we in­fer where we don’t know the con­tent that some­thing un­to­ward was tak­ing place. I don’t think it’s a big piece of ev­i­dence.’

A source close to the de­fence team is also at pains to ex­plain this is no great rev­e­la­tion, that Os­car’s lawyers al­ways knew about Ed­kins and had con­sulted with her, and this is cer­tainly not the ‘smoking gun’ the pub­lic and the me­dia have so desperately been search­ing for.

Ev­i­dence of the friendly re­la­tion­ship be­tween Os­car and Jenna was also found in Os­car’s house.

In the up­stairs TV lounge po­lice took photographs of an A2 framed can­vas pic­ture col­lage fea­tur­ing about 40 black-and-white pic­tures of Os­car and Jenna. On the re­verse side is an in­ti­mate mes­sage from Jenna to Os­car in cel­e­bra­tion of their re­la­tion­ship and his 22nd birth­day.

Four years later and Os­car was dat­ing a dif­fer­ent blonde – Sa­man­tha Tay­lor. By July 2012 the re­la­tion­ship was col­laps­ing when the ath­lete sent an email not only to Tay­lor, but to her mother as well.

In his out­pour­ing of emo­tion, he re­vealed deepseated feel­ings to­wards Jenna Ed­kins.

It was ev­i­dent while the ath­lete re­alised the re­la­tion­ship with Ed­kins was over, he still wanted to be friends with her be­cause ‘she had been there with me through a lot’.

So, while Os­car had moved on to Reeva, who he would claim to have fallen in love with, he still main­tained con­tact with Babyshoes.

While there is no ev­i­dence to sug­gest their re­la­tion­ship was any­thing other than friend­ship, it is nev­er­the­less note­wor­thy that Os­car kept in touch with Ed­kins, made con­tact with her on oc­ca­sions when he and Reeva ap­peared to have dis­agree­ments, and called her the day be­fore that fate­ful Valen­tine’s Day.

Ed­kins de­clined to do an in­ter­view with us. In re­sponse to ques­tions, she com­mented: ‘I do not wish to re­spond to mere al­le­ga­tions, for ex­am­ple, the al­le­ga­tions of Os­car call­ing me when he and Reeva had a fight or the state­ment given by Sa­man­tha are un­true. It is common knowl­edge Os­car and I have re­mained friends and I do not wish to be in­volved in any me­dia hype around this ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion.’

On the eve of Valen­tine’s Day, Os­car ar­rived home while still on the phone to Ed­kins. It is a con­ver­sa­tion po­lice did not iden­tify and Os­car did not speak about in his ev­i­dence.

Who was to say what rel­e­vance or con­se­quence this could have had to the state’s case or if it would have swayed [ Judge Thokozile] Masipa at all if the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions had un­earthed it?

PHOTO: COUR­TESY SAPS

SOM­BRE MO­MENT Os­car Pis­to­rius ex­tends his arms as if hold­ing a firearm while hav­ing his mea­sure­ments taken at Er­gonomics Tech­nolo­gies in Cen­tu­rion, Gaut­eng

PHOTO: COUR­TESY SAPS

PHOTO MEM­O­RIES Jenna Ed­kins gave Os­car this col­lage as a birth­day present. The po­lice found it in the up­stairs TV lounge at his home

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.