Oscar’s shrine to Reeva
Psychologist tells of on a wall in Pistorius’ room, a sign of how much he misses Steenkamp and the deep regret he feels
Oscar Pistorius has made a shrine to Reeva Steenkamp in his flat at the home of his uncle Arnold Pistorius in Waterkloof, Pretoria, where he lights candles while looking at her photos on the walls.
This tribute from Pistorius to his late model girlfriend, who he shot on Valentine’s Day in 2013, is a sign of how much he misses her.
So says Professor Jonathan Scholtz, head of clinical psychology at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.
Scholtz was a member of a special panel that observed Pistorius during his trial.
Pistorius told him about the memorial and Scholtz immediately asked to see it.
“There was not enough time for him to do it quickly. He did not make it up.
“What I found there was a wall with photos of Steenkamp and candles,” he said.
Scholtz told City Press’ sister paper, Rapport, this week that Pistorius would forever live with feelings of guilt.
“He realises this is a punishment he will carry with him for the rest of his life, and he feels he deserves this punishment.”
Now that the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that Pistorius is guilty of murder and not culpable homicide, he is looking at the very real possibility of having to go back to jail.
But Scholtz said Pistorius was psychologically much stronger than people thought he was, and would adapt again.
“He would not have achieved what he did in athletics if he wasn’t [strong],” he said. “Regardless of how long he is locked up, nothing will remove his feelings of regret and guilt.”
On Friday, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel compiled a warrant for Pistorius’ arrest, but it had not yet been signed and issued by a judge.
When this is done, an arrangement will be made with Pistorius’ advocate, Barry Roux, for him to appear before Judge Thokozile Masipa again for sentencing.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said on Friday they wanted the process to be concluded as soon as possible. “We are deliberating and facilitating a process where [Pistorius] appears in court soon for a date for the sentencing to be arranged.”
He said that during the NPA’s discussions on the matter, the issue of Pistorius applying for bail arose, but the decision would ultimately rest with the judge president.
“We can’t pre-empt the decision, but they will listen to the facts and make a determination on the matter. For us, we want it as a matter of extreme urgency,” said Mfaku.
One of Pistorius’ friends, boxer Kevin Lerena, who testified at his trial, spoke to British tabloid Daily Mail about Pistorius.
He said the Paralympian told him he was “terrified” of imprisonment. Lerena said Pistorius told him on the phone: “I don’t want to go back to jail. It’s a terrible place; so disgusting you can’t imagine.”
Lerena reportedly said Pistorius was depressed, had lost all interest in training and women and hinted that he could “do something stupid”, rather than return to prison. “He has been left so down and broken by just one year inside.
“I don’t even want to think about what is going to happen to him if he goes back for any longer. I don’t think he will be able to handle it,” Lerena reportedly said.
“He just seems to have given up on life.”
Malose Langa, a psychologist and lecturer at Wits University, said Pistorius had to be feeling very anxious and traumatised.
“He knows it will be bad and he knows what to expect. It was clear from the start that the state would appeal.
“He would have hoped for a positive outcome, but would have prepared himself for the worst.”
Professor Anni Hesselink, a Unisa criminologist, agreed that Pistorius must be devastated, as he would have had hope for the future, but would now be sent back to prison.
“He is starting again from scratch, but this time in the knowledge that he is considered a murderer. It must have one helluva traumatic effect on him to have his freedom and privacy restricted again.
“His career is over. Where he was once the popular and famous athlete, he is now just another criminal in the system,” she said.
Oscar Pistorius in court last year