Oscar Pistorius agent denies athlete is working on tell-all book about Reeva Steenkamp shooting

Pistorius was cleared of premeditated murder last week, but faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter

Maria Tadeo
Monday 15 September 2014 13:06 BST
Oscar Pistorius leaving court on bail on 12 September
Oscar Pistorius leaving court on bail on 12 September

Oscar Pistorius' agent has denied that the athlete is planning to write a tell-all book about the night he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, following media reports suggesting that he was in talks for "concepts and ideas" about a potential memoir.

Over the weekend, the athlete's manager, Peet Van Zyl, was quoted in The Observer newspaper as saying they were in discussions to put his side of the story about the events leading up to Ms Steenkamp's death on paper in a new memoir.

"We've discussed it. We've talked about ideas and concepts. I'm not going to go into details now," he told the publication. "I will sit down with him once everything is done and decide what we are going to do. We have to wait until 13 October before we can think about anything. After that we will tell the world what we are going to do."

But Mr Van Zyl claims his comments were "taken out of context" and insists Pistorius, who was found guilty of the culpable homicide (the equivalent of manslaughter in the UK) of the 29-year old model and law graduate last week, has no plans to write a book and he was simply responding to a "hypothetical" question.

He told The Independent: "During the interview, I was asked about the various books (about the death of Ms Steenkamp) that are in the works. All I said was 'If and when Oscar decides to write a memoir, that's the only book that will matter.'"

Pistorius was cleared of premeditated murder last week, but was found guilty of culpable homicide iafter judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that he used excessive force and "acted unlawfully" in the shooting.

The judge argued that a reasonable person with a similar disability would have "foreseen that the person behind the door would have been killed" and he "failed to take action to avoid" it, arming himself instead of calling security or alerting neighbours.

If Pistorius were to publish a book, he would risk breaking South Africa's laws which stipulate that no person subject to a criminal conviction may derive profit "directly or indirectly for any published account" relating to the offence in question.

This means he would be legally barred from making money from a memoir in connection with the death of his girlfriend while serving jail time or community service for the killing of Ms Steenkamp.

But the interest in the story about South Africa's fallen hero shows no signs of stopping and a potential memoir could be extremely lucrative for the athlete, who has sold a number of properties to pay for the legal fees of his murder trial, according to his management.

So far, the mother of Pistorius' former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, Patricia, has published a book detailing her daughter's rocky relationship with the athlete whom he she accused of cheating under oath as she appeared in court as a witness for the state.

South African journalists, Barry Bateman and Mandy Wiener, who were among the first reporters to cover the story, are also publishing a book, Behind the Door: The Oscar and Reeva Steenkamp Story, due out later this month.

"This is a classic tragic tale, the man who overcame disability to compete in the Olympics, the beautiful girl... He was a national hero and lost it all on 14 February," Bateman told The Independent, adding that there is an ongoing debate among legal circles in South Africa, with some arguing that Pistorius is guilty of murder under dolus eventualis and the state may appeal.

"The story is here to stay and we expect further developments," he added.

Pistorius will be sentenced on 13 October and faces up to 15 years in prison.

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