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

CityPress - - News - SONJA CARSTENS news@city­press.co.za

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.

– Rap­port

PHOTO: TIMES ME­DIA GROUP

Os­car Pis­to­rius in court last year

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