Why South Africa's top murder expert will not be involved in Oscar Pistorius case: she is his aunt

 

Johannesburg

As prosecutors and police prepare for Oscar Pistorius' murder trial, they are expected to enlist the services of a psychologist to build a profile of the accused. The one person they will not be able to turn to is Micki Pistorius, arguably South Africa's most experienced criminal profiler, who is also the aunt of the 26-year-old athlete.

A slight 52-year-old with reddish blonde hair, she was a regular in Court C during the proceedings against her nephew last week, but has avoided making any public comment on the case.

The author of Profiling Serial Killers and other crimes in South Africa and a string of other works on the motives and psychology of murderers, she has opposed long custodial sentences in some serious crime cases.

She was founder and head of the South African Police Service's (SAPS) investigative psychology unit, where she held a rank equivalent to colonel.

During her six years in the police she dealt with serial killers, stalkers and rapists. She continues to consult for several government agencies.

The issue of her nephew's psychology and in particular his "propensity for violence" – which the state alleges – makes it likely that psychologists will feature in a future trial: "She is one person who we will not be able to turn to," an advocate for the prosecution confirmed today. The prosecution expect the defence to lean heavily on character witnesses, a tactic they deployed early in the bail hearing with three affidavits from friends of Mr Pistorius who described a "loving relationship" between the accused and the victim, Reeva Steenkamp.

A noted eccentric during her time as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, she would encircle herself on the library floor with Freud and Jung books because "circles have magic powers" that helped her to absorb knowledge.

In her memoir Catch Me A Killer Dr Pistorius claims to have extra-sensory perception, being able to pick up vibes without using the five normal senses. She calls this gift "cryptesthesia" a term she prefers to "psychic, which to me conjures up the image of a gypsy with a crystal ball or a cup of tea leaves."

Controversially she has written about her empathy for killers: "Serial killers are not monsters; they are human beings with tortured souls. I will never condone what they do, but I can understand them."

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