Pistorius detective facing attempted murder charges

The lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius case is himself facing attempted murder charges, it has been revealed.

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Detective Hilton Botha, who has given evidence against the Paralympian during his bail hearing this week, is scheduled to appear in court in May on seven counts of attempted murder, the South African Police Service has confirmed.

Police Brigadier Neville Malila said Botha and two other police officers fired shots while trying to stop a mini-van in an incident believed to have happened in October 2011.

Pistorius could find out today if he will be granted bail after being charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He has admitted shooting the model, 29, but claims he did so thinking she was a burglar or burglars, who were in the bathroom.

He adds that he opened fire in the dark because he was too scared to turn a light on.

Realising his mistake, he broke the door down with a cricket bat and carried her downstairs, he said.

Yesterday Botha was forced to admit that the prosecution had no evidence challenging the double-amputee Olympian's claim that he killed his girlfriend accidentally, as well as to a number of police blunders in the investigation.

He was also laughed at in court for claiming the world-famous Paralympian could go on the run.

Botha said there was "no way" he believed Pistorius's version of events, and a witness told police Pistorius's lights were on after hearing gunshots.

He said: "I believe he knew she was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door."

The court was told a witness heard "non-stop shouting" coming from his home before he shot his girlfriend dead.

The witness overheard the "row" which is said to have come from the property at the exclusive Silver Lakes Golf Estate between 2am and 3am on Valentine's Day, the prosecution said.

Shortly afterwards, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, lay bleeding to death in Pistorius's bathroom.

She was hit by three bullets - one in the head, the hip and arm, Pretoria Magistrates' Court heard.

One witness reported hearing a shot, followed 17 minutes later by more shots, Botha said.

"One of our witnesses heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other... from two in the morning to three," he said, adding that the witness was about 1,000ft away.

The runner has said he shot through the door while on his stumps.

But the court heard the bullets' trajectory was through the top of the door and Botha claims the bullets were fired down, suggesting Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs when the shots were discharged.

The court also heard that two boxes of testosterone and needles were found in Pistorius's bedroom.

His lawyer Barry Roux countered prosecution claims that testosterone was found, saying it was actually a herbal remedy, called Testocompasutium co-enzyme.

Details were also released yesterday of a row Pistorius had with a man over a girl at Kyalami racetrack where Pistorius allegedly threatened to "f*** up" the rival.

It was also claimed he was involved in another shooting at a restaurant in Johannesburg in January and asked the gun owner to take responsibility for the accident.

In an affidavit, Pistorius said he and Miss Steenkamp were in love and he thought she was in bed in the early hours of last Thursday when he got up in the dark and blasted through the door.

Cross-examining Mr Botha, Mr Roux said a post-mortem examination showed Miss Steenkamp's bladder was empty, which he said is consistent with her getting up at 3am to go to the toilet.

Mr Roux asked repeatedly why the police did not make simple checks - over the lighting and whether Pistorius had other phones after police said two seized iPhones were not used to call police or paramedics.

The lawyer said Pistorius phoned the housing complex manager for help at 3.19am then Netcare hospital a minute later.

The police discarded anything that might have been consistent with a defence, said Mr Roux.

Officers found the victim covered in towels and wearing white shorts and a black top.

The prosecution believe Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at London's 2012 Paralympic Games, is a flight risk and is opposing bail.

Pistorius, who underwent below-the-knee amputations when he was 11 months old, has offshore accounts and a property in Italy, it was claimed.

Outside the red-brick building the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress yesterday protested, waving placards saying "No Bail for Pistorius" and "Rot in jail".

The case has stunned sports fans worldwide.

But it has been felt most acutely in South Africa, where Pistorius was seen as a hero who transcended racial divides that persist nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid.

He carried South Africa's flag at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, and American magazine Sports Illustrated named him as one of the most inspiring figures of the year.

The sprinter's endorsements and sponsorships included Nike, telecoms firm BT, sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler and were thought to be worth as much as two million US dollars (£1.3 million) a year.

Nike and Mugler both said they have dropped Pistorius from advertising campaigns, and Clarins cosmetics giant said it was recalling its A Man perfume range out of "respect and compassion towards the families involved".

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