Oscar Pistorius murder: no tears in court, Trish Taylor’s bitterness and taking sides
OSCAR Pistorius is front-page news. The double-amputee, “the fastest man on no legs” who became a Paralympic and Olympic robo-legend, is accused to murdering his lover, 30-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, at their South African home. He’s been in court.
The Indy: “Pistorius Weeps”
Daily Express: “Blade Runner sobs in court”
The Times: “The anguish of Oscar”
Like the Express, the Sun opts to lead with the alleged killer’s nickname, focusing on the unfortunate “Blade” angle – although the murder weapon is said to have been a gun:
“Blade Runner suicide watch”
In the yellow ink of tabloid journalism, the death of an innocent woman becomes ab;ut the possible death of an accused man:
The Olympic star was locked up among criminals and low-lifes in a grim police cell yesterday after being charged with his girlfriend’s Valentine’s Day murder — and refused bail by a court
Reading Anthony France’s words creates the impression of Pistorius as victim. The papers are taking sides. We don’t know what happened. All we do know for certain is that young woman has been shot dead.
And last night sources said he was being monitored in Pretoria’s grim Brooklyn Police Station in case he made an attempt on his life. One said: “Oscar is innocent but he feels as though he has descended into hell. He is absolutely devastated and struggling to deal with his emotions. He’s been given a cell to himself at the police station but there are criminals in cells around him and he doesn’t belong there. There are police concerns over his mental state.”
Over the Daily Mail, the paper has already lead with:
“Girls, guns and the dark side of the Blade Runner”
That angle has become:
Blade runner’s exes in online war of words as they tell of two sides to superstar
Trish Taylor, mother of Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, wrote with some relief on Facebook: “I’m so glad Sammy is safe and out of the clutches of that man.” After dating Pistorius for a year and a half until last year, Miss Taylor had told South Africa’s City Press newspaper that “Oscar is certainly not what people think he is”.
That would depend on whether or not you think he’s a killer, no?
And when asked about his new relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, she lashed out: “Oscar has such a way with women. She’s probably not the only one he’s got.”
So says the ex-lover of the rich and celebrated sporting superstar.
The Mail omits to mention nother ex-girlfriend, Jenna Edkins, who said on Twitter:
“All I am saying is let him speak, let his side be heard without jumping to conclusions…I have dated Oscar on and off for 5 YEARS, NOT ONCE has he EVER lifted a finger to me or made me fear for my life.”
The Times has few words on that sobbing:
Pistorius sobbed, but his eyes were dry
Lucy Bannerman writes:
As he turned to face the chief magistrate, he clenched his fists and tried to keep his lip from trembling. “Case C13/255/2013,” announced the prosecutor in clipped Afrikaans tones. “The State versus Oscar Leonard Pistorius, arrested on one count of murder.” As soon as he heard the word, Mr Pistorius buried his face in his hands, and shook uncontrollably…
He looked petrified…
He seemed too shell-shocked to cry. Instead, he ground his jaw, and heaved with the sound of sobs, but there were no tears while he was in the dock. His eyes were dry.
After 40 minutes, it was over. The bail application would be postponed until Tuesday. As Mr Pistorius got up to leave, his father and brother moved forward to embrace him. But as he turned round to face them both for the first time, he flinched. Instead of grabbing a moment with his family, he grimaced, turned, and joined police officers leading him back to his cell. Father and brother walked out of the courtroom, grim-faced, pursued by cables of TV crews and reporters, some of whom risked limbs in the revolving doors to follow them. A few hours later, a statement was released. “Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.”
That statement went on:
“Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms…Oscar Pistorius has made history as an Olympic and Paralympic sportsman and has been an inspiration to others the world over. He has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva. He would also like to express his thanks through us today for all the messages of support he has received – but as stated, our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family, regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy.”
Back to those tears. The Scottish Daily Record says Pistorius’s eyes were wet:
“Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius breaks down in tears.”
The Express sees tears:
The Blade Runner broke down into tears
Aislinn Laing, Erin Conway-Smith in Pretoria for the Telegraph saw tears:
The 26-year-old broke down in tears as the accusation was read out at Pretoria magistrates’ court.
Unlike the tear-spotters, Bannerman was in court. Her report illustrates the importance of having a journalist on the scene.