Oscar Trial: Day 35 summary

Oscar Pistorius asked his manager Peet Van Zyl if his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp could accompany him on trips to athletics’ events in Manchester and Brazil in 2013.

Van Zyl testified during the 35th day of Pistorius’s murder trial that the athlete had wanted Steenkamp to see "the pressure he was under as a professional athlete".

Van Zyl, who has been Pistorius' manager since 2006, described the relationship between Pistorius and Steenkamp as "kind, caring and loving".

Van Zyl proved a surprise witness to the state, who had not been expecting a character witness at this late stage of the trial.

Van Zyl told the court during his seven years of interaction with Pistorius, he formed the opinion that the Blade Runner was hyper-vigilant. He said Pistorius choose seats in restaurants that allowed him to see who entered and exited.

Van Zyl said he had seen Pistorius lose his temper twice - once in Barcelona when a camera crew accused him of being a cheat during his campaign to compete against able-bodied athletes and once in London at the BBC studios when he was asked during a radio interview if he was an embarrassment to his country.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Van Zyl if his client was paranoid rather than vigilant, but Van Zyl said he was not qualified to say so.

Nel also asked Van Zyl if he had read a New York Times profile of Pistorius in which he had said he headed to the shooting range to practice when he suffered from insomnia.

Van Zyl confirmed that he had read the article but had not considered it strange or worth bringing up with his client and had only become aware of Pistorius’s love of guns in November 2012.

Nel also asked Van Zyl about an incident during the London Olympics in 2012 when Pistorius's roommate asked to be moved, reportedly because he complained about the Blade Runner constantly arguing over the phone.

Van Zyl said that while he was aware of the incident, he had not been present in London and had not been informed of the reasons for the teammate's request.

Van Zyl earlier testified that, after Pistorius’s increased profile post-London, he had been on the verge of signing sponsorship agreements that would have seen him earn five to six times more than prior to the Olympics.

These agreements would have given Pistorius, who Van Zyl described as an "astute businessman", financial security beyond his planned retirement from athletics in 2017.

A postponement was granted by Judge Thokozile Masipa to allow Nel time to prepare for continuing his cross-examination tomorrow morning.


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